Factors influencing lesbians' direct disclosure of their sexual orientation

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
L. DiAnne Borders, Burlington Industries Excellence Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: The major purpose of this study was to investigate premises regarding self-disclosure as proposed in theories of homosexual development while gathering baseline empirical data on the coming-out process. Several variables that theoretically influence coming-out, such as, persons to whom a lesbian has self-disclosed, in what order she has chosen to do this, how her internalized homophobia has influenced her behavior and how her coming-out behavior is related to level of sexual identity development, were investigated. Participants were volunteers responding to advertisements (N = 407, 64% return rate). The sample was a diverse group, with no all respondents labeling themselves lesbian. Age of coming-out to themselves ranged from 3 to 63 years; coming-out to another, age 7 to 63; coming-out to another after coming-out to herself, less than one year to 33 years. After coming-out to themselves, respondents tended to come-out to other lesbians next. Despite the theoretical premise that coming-out to family is the most difficult, there was not specific pattern to indicate the respondents came-out to family last or to siblings before parents. Respondents with higher levels of homophobia tended to come-out to fewer groups of people, but their general predisposition to disclose was not related to coming-out behavior. Women at later stages of identity formation has come-out to more groups of people.

Additional Information

Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy, 2(3), 17-37
Language: English
Date: 1996
lesbians, coming out, self-disclosure, homosexuality, sexuality identity development

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