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Title: The construction of gay identity
Author: Coyle, Adrian Gerard
ISNI:       0000 0000 4440 215X
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1991
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Drawing upon the work of McAdams (1988) and Breakwell (1986) on identity, gay identity can be conceptualised as a personal narrative that individuals construct in an attempt to impart meaning, coherence and purpose to the experiences they have had in relation to their same-sex sexual preference, and to boost their self-esteem and sense of personal continuity by forging connections between these experiences and imposing causality on them. With the aim of accessing the gay identity narratives of a sample of gay men, a structured multiple-choice-type questionnaire which examined experiences relating to the formation of a gay identity was distributed to 204 self-defined gay men in Greater London. The 146 completed questionnaires that were returned were first subjected to frequency analysis. One of the main findings to emerge was that respondents reported having constructed their gay identity formation narratives against a background of internalised negative societal ideas about homosexuals and homosexuality, which rendered problematic the admission of a gay identity to their overarching identity and the attribution of a positive evaluation to this gay identity. Data were also subjected to multiple regression analysis, the major outcome of which was that contact with the gay subculture appeared to have facilitated the development of a gay identity that individuals could regard as personally advantageous by challenging the negative images of homosexuals and homosexualityaccess to a subcultural narrative in which the development of a gay identity is construed as a worthwhile task. Respondents' accounts of their gay identity formation experiences were generally interpreted on two levels, i. e., as reflecting the actualities of the events they described and, importing concepts from work on autobiographical memory, as reconstructions of those events within gay identity formation narratives designed to boost the narrator's self-esteem and sense of personal continuity. internalised during socialisation and by allowing individuals
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Personal and social identity Psychology Sociology Human services