Same-sex attraction, gender nonconformity, and mental health: The protective role of parental acceptance.

[Speaker] Van Beusekom, Gabriël:1
[Co-author] Sandfort, Theo Gm:2
1:University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), 2:Columbia University, New York (United States of America)

We assessed whether the associations of same-sex attraction (SSA) and gender nonconformity (GNC) with mental health (i.e., psychological distress and social anxiety) varied along levels of mother and/or father acceptance. Data were collected from 1,121 secondary school students (539 boys; Mage=16.6) by means of paper-pencil questionnaires. Analyses were conducted separately for boys and girls. Multiple regression analyses showed that for boys, father acceptance moderated the associations of GNC with psychological distress and social anxiety. For boys with high levels of father acceptance, GNC was not significantly associated with psychological distress and social anxiety, when compared with boys with low and mean levels of father acceptance. Mother acceptance did moderate the association between SSA and social anxiety for girls. For girls with mean and high levels of mother acceptance, SSA was not associated with social anxiety, when compared with girls who reported low levels of acceptance by their mothers.
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