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Study: Parental support of ‘coming out’ helps improve long-term health

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

“Coming out” may be good for your health, particularity when your parents support the decision, according to a new study published in the Journal of Homosexuality.

Researchers at Boston University School of Public Health surveyed 5,658 adults ages 18-64 in Massachusetts, and found that 75 percent of gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults had “come out” to their parents.

And in incidences where parents were openly supportive of their children, reports of mental health and substance abuse were considerably lower than in cases where parents were unsupportive.

“These results do not surprise me at all,” said Nicole Sullivan, a 22-year-old student at Bunker Hill Community College who came out as bisexual when she was 19 years old.

“I struggled with mental health and drug problems during my adolescence, and I know that some of it is because I didn’t feel accepted at home. I am really grateful that I had cousins who supported me, and it’s because of them that I was able to get healthy.”

“The way that parents treat their LGB children when they come out is an important public health topic that has received too little attention to date,” said Emily Rothman, Ph.D., an associate professor of community health sciences.

“Our message is that parents should take note: The way we treat our LGB children, even from before the time they disclose their sexual orientation status, may have a long-term, significant impact on their health and ability to handle life’s challenges.”

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Filed under: LGBTQ Life

9 more reader comments:

  1. - No surprise there really, but good to have the statistical confirmation for educational benefit of those who think pressuring their children (or other kin) to ‘just be normal’ is actually for their own good.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 9:56pm
  2. wish all parents would support their gay sons and daughters but most of them will just denie them as happened with me -.- but well what are we going to do? just keep going forward and never give up our dreams ;) and in as the video “it gets better” =)

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 10:07pm
  3. and as in the video* lol gramatical issues XD

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 10:08pm
  4. Speaking of coming out: Seeking Mothers of Gay Children. Anonymous survey on their reaction when their kids came out to them.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 10:19pm
  5. What if those parents dont support it, and you live in a place where you are an abomination to the people and your parents?!
    And of course it helps improve your health, you don’t live with the constant fear of being found out or self loathing thanks to the society.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:54pm
  6. Pardon my French, but… NO SHIT.

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 2:30am
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    * DJ’s on rotation
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    See you!

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 5:51am
  8. What I suspected all along.

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 7:14am
  9. In Australia, we experience a substantially higher rate of depression and suicide amongst young gay men than amongst straight men. The non acceptance of their sexuality by parents, siblings and friends contributes to this terrible situation.
    I wish all parents would have a heart to heart talk with their kids before it is too late and let them know they are loved no matter what their sexual predisposition is.
    Keith Bowker – Admin

    Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 8:42am