Leaving a Lasting Impression: The Role of Foundational Family, Privacy, and Gender Messages on Coming Out Disclosures
Motto, Justin Stewart
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This dissertation investigates the influence of family messages about gender, free expression, conformity, and privacy on coming out disclosures, a difficult experience in today’s society. Using communication privacy management theory, this study explored how heteronormative beliefs, family privacy boundaries, and family communication patterns relate to disclosure concerns. A total of 218 self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) participants were recruited using convenience and snowball sampling techniques. Participants completed an online survey to measure family privacy orientations, family communication patterns, heteronormative attitudes and beliefs, and disclosure concerns. Six linear regression analyses were performed. The findings suggest that both family privacy orientations and family communication patterns contribute to concerns about disclosing one’s sexual orientation. The study did not find heteronormative beliefs and attitudes to play a significant role in disclosure concerns. Additional findings indicate that family communication patterns inform family privacy orientations, which suggest a more complicated chain of influence. The findings of the study highlight the influence of early communication on LGBT individuals’ long-term ability to communicate about their sexual orientation.