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Perceived Parental Rejection, Romantic Attachment Orientations, Levels of “Outness”, and the Relationship Quality of Gay Men in Relationships Öffentlichkeit

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Abstract of DissertationPerceived Parental Rejection, Romantic Attachment Orientations, Levels of “Outness”, and the Relationship Quality of Gay Men in Relationships This study examined the effects of perceived parental rejection in gay men and romantic relationship quality during the 2020 COVID-19 global pandemic,. Meyer (2003) noted several dimensions of minority stress that LGBTQIA+ individuals are at risk of experiencing, including discrimination based on their sexual orientation, internalizing negative societal attitudes about homosexuality, and expecting rejection due to their sexual orientation. Researchers have just started to identify protective factors that contribute to resilience among gay men (Goldfried & Goldfried, 2001; Holahan et al., 1994; Steinberg, 2001), and this study sought to add to that literature. Perceived parental acceptance has been found to be associated with improved well-being (Steinberg, 2001; Holahan et al., 1994), suggesting that relationships with parents or caregivers have effects well into adulthood. Yet, the literature has failed to examine the effects of early parental rejection and how current attachment styles may mediate past experiences and their effects on current relationship quality. The main goal of the current study was to examine whether recollections of past parental rejection were associated with relationship quality later in their adult intimate relationships (Cassidy, 2008). Outness to family, friends, and others and current attachment styles were assessed as mediating variables for the links between perceived parental rejection and relationship quality. A sample of 275 participants was recruited through Amazon Turk (MTurk), Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The mean age of participants was 31.05 years old (SD = 7.94), with a range of 18-65. The sample consisted of 93% of the sample identified as male, with the remainder identifying as transgender (4%), non-binary (0.7%), or other (2.2%). This diverse sample identified their race/ethnicity as either European American (41%), followed by African American (15%), Asian American (14%), Hispanic American (14%), American Indian, or Alaskan Native (12%), Other (4%), and Biracial (1%). The researcher conducted a multiple mediation analysis using Hayes (2018) PROCESS macro to examine the relationship between perceived parental rejection and relationship quality, with attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance, and outness as possible mediators. Consistent with the literature, perceived parental rejection from both mothers and fathers was associated with lower current relationship quality. Overall, the findings of the current study indicate support for attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance mediating the effect of perceived parental rejection on current relationship quality. Attachment Avoidance was found to be a stronger mediator of the relationship between perceived maternal rejection and relationship quality. Attachment anxiety was still a significant predictor, but not as strong when compared to attachment avoidance. Surprisingly in contrast with existing literature, results showed that outness is not a potential mechanism for how perceived parental rejection is related to relationship quality.

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