The influence of concerns about a child’s sexual orientation on mental health among parents of lesbian, gay, and bisexual children in Hong Kong

Randolph Chun Ho CHAN, Yiu Tung SUEN, Miu Yin Eliz WONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sexual minority stress affects not only lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals, but also their families. Due to the pervasiveness of stigma and discrimination, parents of LGB children often express concerns about the public perception of their child’s sexual orientation and its possible impact on children, parents, and families. The concerns are particularly pertinent to parents in Chinese families, where there is a strong bond between parents and children. The present study seeks to understand the different dimensions of concerns among Chinese parents of LGB children and examine how these concerns affect their mental health. A total of 146 parents of LGB children in Hong Kong were recruited to participate in a survey regarding attitudes and concerns about their child’s sexual orientation. The results revealed three areas of concern, which reflect parental worries about how a child’s LGB identity may negatively impact the child, parent, and family. Parents who viewed homosexuality and bisexuality as innate and accepted their child’s sexual orientation were likely to show fewer concerns. The results of structural equation modeling indicated that parental acceptance was negatively related to depression and anxiety symptoms through lower levels of child-oriented and family-oriented concerns. As accepting a child’s sexual orientation is the key to reducing parental concerns and mental health problems, family-focused psychoeducation is needed to provide parents with accurate information about sexual orientation and foster supportive attitudes toward their LGB child. Clinicians and human service providers should also address child-oriented and family-oriented concerns among parents of LGB adolescents who are more inclined to be concerned about their child’s sexual orientation. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3497-3512
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Volume51
Issue number7
Early online date16 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Citation

Chan, R. C. H., Suen, Y. T., & Wong, E. M. Y. (2022). The influence of concerns about a child’s sexual orientation on mental health among parents of lesbian, gay, and bisexual children in Hong Kong. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 51(7), 3497-3512. doi: 10.1007/s10508-022-02374-9

Keywords

  • Parents of lesbian, gay, and bisexual children
  • Concerns about sexual orientation
  • Minority stress
  • Mental health
  • Family

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