Stigmatization associated with growing up in a lesbian-parented family: What do adolescents experience and how do they deal with it?
The purpose of the current qualitative study was to investigate whether adolescents in American planned lesbian families experienced negative reactions from their social environment associated with their mothers' sexual orientation, and if so, to explore the nature of these experiences. In addition, the focus was on the coping strategies as described by the adolescents themselves. Results revealed that half of the 78 participating 17-years-olds had experienced homophobic stigmatization. Such experiences usually took place within the school context and peers were most frequently mentioned as the source. The adolescents used adaptive strategies (such as optimism) more frequently than maladaptive strategies (such as avoidance) to cope with these negative experiences. Our results suggest that intervention programs focused on family diversity should be developed for school children of all ages since the stigmatization experienced by the studied adolescents typically happened in that context.
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