Thesis Title

The Coming Out Process: Parental Knowledge of Sexual Orientation and the Self-Esteem of Adult Lesbians

Graduation Date

Fall 1995

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form

Print

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy

Abstract

A comparison of the self-esteem scores of 35 lesbian identified women reporting parental knowledge of their sexual orientation represented as the out group (OG) to the self-esteem scores of 29 lesbian women reporting no parental knowledge of their sexual orientation represented as the not out group (NOG). As hypothesized, the OG subjects scored lower (indicating higher self-esteem) on Walter W. Hudson's (1982) Index of Self Esteem (ISE), than the NOG lesbians (E =.022). The number of OG subjects that participated in social, support and political groups were significantly higher than the NOG lesbians (B <*01). Ninety-three percent of OG lesbians had experienced personal counseling compared to 52% of the NOG lesbians. implications for use of family therapy in the "coming out" process and recommendations for further research and counselor training are presented.

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