Perception of Alienation From Parents and Peers During the Coming Out Process for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Individuals and Self-Reported Attachment Classifications: A Preliminary Investigation of the Relationship Between the Attachment System and Rejection due to Sexual Orientation Open Access
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This study examined the relationship between attachment style and perceived alienation from significant attachment figures during the coming out process for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults. Participants completed an online survey measuring adult attachment via the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised (ECR-R) and perceived alienation after coming out via the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA). Three thousand eight hundred and forty-one heterosexual and LGB respondents completed the attachment portion of the survey, and analysis determined that sexual orientation was correlated with attachment security for the 18-29 year olds in this sample, with LGB respondents reporting higher rates of insecure attachment than their heterosexual peers. Within the LGB sample, chi-square analysis revealed that higher rates of perceived alienation from mother, father, and peers immediately after disclosure of sexual orientation was related to current attachment insecurity. Finally, discriminant function analysis was conducted using time variables as predictors of attachment group membership. It demonstrated that the predictors were affecting group membership, but only to a very small degree, and potential issues with survey construction make any firm conclusion of this question problematic. Time between self-identification as LGB and time of first significantdisclosure of sexual orientation (TBTW) was the dominant time variable in the parental analyses, while time since disclosure of sexual orientation (TSO) was the dominant predictor in the peer analysis. A discussion of the significance of these findings for the counseling profession and directions for future research are included.