Resilience in families after a child’s same-sex sexual orientation disclosure: the child’s perspective

de Villiers, Barend Laing (2016-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : Although same-sex attraction is more openly accepted by society, it is still perceived by some with immense negativity due to traditional and conservative ideas surrounding sexuality. Same sex-attracted individuals are at greater risk (than their heterosexual peers) for mental health problems such as depression, social anxiety, use and abuse of illicit substances, victimisation and even suicide. Families play a vital role in the life and development of any child and, even more so, in the healthy development of a same sex-attracted child. Unfortunately, most families initially react in a negative manner towards their child’s disclosure of same-sex sexual orientation. Despite this, most families are able to adapt and cope, and later accept their child’s same-sex sexual orientation. The Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Adjustment and Adaptation (McCubbin & McCubbin, 1996) was used as the theoretical framework for this study, which aimed to identify factors, attributes and resources that families have available to cope with and adapt to their same sex-attracted child’s sexual orientation. A mixed-methods research design was utilised in which each participant completed seven self-report quantitative questionnaires and responded to an open-ended qualitative question. Fifty-four same sex-attracted participants were recruited as representatives of their families. The quantitative component comprised Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficients, analyses of variance and a best-subset regression analysis to determine resilience qualities that were best able to predict the dependent variable (the family’s level of adaptation). The qualitative data were analysed according to thematic analyses to identify family resilience qualities. The qualitative and quantitative results were combined to give a more in-depth understanding of the resilience qualities that the participants felt their families used to adapt to their child’s disclosure of his/her same-sex sexual orientation. The following family resilience qualities were the combined results as identified from the qualitative and quantitative components, as well as the literature review: family hardiness; community support; social support from family, relatives and friends; positive communication; ability to redefine a stressor; ability to minimise reactivity; regular communication between parents and children; time since disclosure and time spent together (through events, quiet time and family time); and whether the child is employed as opposed to still studying. In addition, the following qualities were also identified (by the qualitative component and previous research): positive attributes that were identified within the child, parents and the family; the use of media resources (literature, films, television); and exposure to same sex-attracted individuals and exposure to same-sex attraction as a topic of conversation. The study therefore provides the child’s perspectives of potential resilience qualities (all of the above-mentioned qualities) that families can implement when a child discloses his/her same-sex sexual orientation. The results can also be used by clinicians to help families that face the crisis of having a same sex-attracted child. As an exploratory study, this study also identified several recommendations for future, related studies on family resilience and the event of same-sex sexual orientation disclosure.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Al word aangetrokkenheid tot dieselfde geslag meer openlik in die samelewing aanvaar, word dit nog steeds grotendeels negatief beskou as gevolg van tradisionele en konserwatiewe idees oor seksualiteit. Individue wat tot dieselfde geslag aangetrokke is, is baie meer vatbaar (teenoor hul heteroseksuele eweknieë) vir gesondheidsprobleme soos depressie, sosiale angstigheid, die gebruik en misbruik van onwettige dwelms, viktimisasie en selfs selfmoord. Gesinne speel ’n baie belangrike rol in die gesonde ontwikkeling van ’n kind wat tot dieselfde geslag aangetrokke is. Ongelukkig het die meeste gesinne aanvanklik ’n negatiewe reaksie teenoor hulle kind se openbaarmaking van hulle selfde-geslag seksuele oriëntasie. Die meeste gesinne het egter die vermoë om aan te beweeg, aan te pas en later selfs hulle kind se seksuele oriëntasie te aanvaar. Die Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Adjustment and Adaptation (McCubbin & McCubbin, 1996) is in hierdie studie gebruik as die teoretiese raamwerk om die faktore, eienskappe en bronne te identifiseer wat gesinne in staat stel om aan te beweeg en aan te pas by hulle kind se seksuele aangetrokkenheid teenoor dieselfde geslag. Die studie het gebruik gemaak van ’n gemengde metode navorsingsontwerp waarin elke deelnemer sewe self-voltooiingsvraelyste (kwantitatief) beantwoord het, sowel as ‘n oopeinde- kwalitatiewe vraag. Vier-en-vyftig persone wat tot dieselfde geslag aangetrokke is, het as verteenwoordigers van hulle gesinne deelgeneem. Die kwantitatiewe data is met behulp van Pearson produkmomentkorrelasies, herhaalde metings variansieontleding (ANOVA) en ’n beste-substel regressieontleding ontleed om die veerkragtigheidskwaliteite te bepaal met die beste vermoë om die afhanklike veranderlike (die gesin se vlak van gesinsaanpasbaarheid) te voorspel. Die kwalitatiewe data is volgens ’n tematiese analise ontleed om veerkragtigheidskwaliteite te bepaal. Die kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe resultate is gekombineer om ’n meer in-diepte begrip te skep van die veerkragtigheidskwaliteite wat die deelnemers geglo het hulle gesinne gebruik het om hul seksuele oriëntasie teenoor dieselfde geslag te aanvaar. Die volgende kwaliteite van gesinsveerkragtigheid is deur die kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe komponente van die studie geïdentifiseer, sowel as vanuit die literatuurstudie in hierdie studie: gesinsgehardheid; gemeenskapsondersteuning; ondersteuning deur die gesin, uitgebreide familie en vriende; positiewe kommunikasie; die vermoë om die krisis te herdefinieer; die vermoë om reaktiwiteit te minimaliseer; gereelde kommunikasie tussen die ouers en kinders; tyd wat verloop het vanaf die kind se openbaarmaking en die tyd wat die gesin saam spandeer (d.m.v. gebeurtenisse, stiltetyd en gesinstyd); en of die kind voltyds werk teenoor ’n kind wat nog studeer. Die volgende kwaliteite is bykomend deur die deelnemers geïdentifiseer (binne die kwalitatiewe resultate en vorige navorsing op die gebied): positiewe eienskappe van die kind, ouers en die gesin; die gebruik van mediabronne (literatuur, films, televisie); en blootstelling aan persone wat tot dieselfde geslag aangetrokke is en aan gesprekke oor aangetrokkenheid tot mense van dieselfde geslag. Die studie bied die kinders se perspektiewe van potensiële veerkragtigheidskwaliteite (wat hierbo genoem word) wat gesinne kan gebruik wanneer hulle kind sy/haar seksuele oriëntasie tot dieselfde geslag openbaar. Die resultate kan ook gebruik word deur persone wat binne die kliniese veld gesinsondersteuning bied om gesinne te help wat sukkel met hulle kind se aangetrokkenheid tot dieselfde geslag. Die studie bied ook verskeie aanbevelings vir toekomstige studies.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98383
This item appears in the following collections: