Coupled gay men, parents, and in-laws: Intergenerational disapproval and the need for a thick skin

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Abstract

This exploratory study applied grounded theory methodology to examine the impacts of parental and in-law disapproval on gay men's relationships. Data were collected from an accidental sample of forty men in twenty homosexual couples using a standardized, open-ended interview. The findings suggest that partnered gay men are almost certain to face antagonism from their parents and in-laws. However, most respondents denied adverse impacts of family of origin hostility. Participants described the deployment of a variety of boundary-setting, coping mechanisms to protect their relationships from intergenerational antipathy. According to the results of this research clinicians may want to prepare gay men for the family crisis that is almost sure to result when they come out to their parents. Practitioners would also be advised to assess and, if necessary, help gay male couples strengthen the intergenerational, emotional boundaries around their relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-595
Number of pages11
JournalFamilies in Society
Volume79
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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