1. Rosenberg, Karen


According to this study:


* Efforts by parents or caregivers to change an adolescent's sexual orientation are associated with poor mental health and adjustment in young adulthood.


* The negative effects are stronger when parents additionally seek the assistance of therapists or religious leaders in changing the adolescent's sexual orientation.



Article Content

Despite evidence of harmful effects in adulthood, sexual orientation change efforts continue to be practiced. According to its authors, a new study is the first to examine mental health and adjustment among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) young adults based on their retrospective reports of efforts by their parents to change their sexual orientation during adolescence.


The sample included 245 self-identified LGBT white and Latino men and women who were 21 to 25 years old. Participants were asked how often during adolescence their parents or caregivers had tried to change their sexual orientation and if their parents or caregivers had taken them to a therapist or religious leader for conversion interventions.


Adolescents who experienced parent-initiated sexual orientation change efforts were more likely to report suicide attempts and higher levels of depression; those who also experienced external conversion efforts were more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Participants who said their parents had tried to change their sexual orientation also reported lower life satisfaction, less social support, lower socioeconomic status, less educational achievement, and lower income in young adulthood. Outcomes were worse for adolescents who experienced both parental attempts to change their sexual orientation and external conversion efforts. Parent-initiated sexual orientation change efforts weren't associated with self-esteem, substance use, or risky sexual behavior.


Culturally appropriate family education and guidance on sexual orientation are needed, the authors advise. They also note that the participation of young adults who self-identified as LGBT may have led to the exclusion of those who are dissatisfied with their identity or who had identified as LGBT during adolescence but not at the time of the study.




Ryan C, et al. J Homosex 2018 Nov 7 [Epub ahead of print].