Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: 'Coming out' stories : a narrative study into 'coming out' as lesbian and gay to the family
Author: Mason, Glenn
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 330X
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Background: The 'coming out' literature reveals there is a high degree of selectivity and fear of rejection around disclosure of sexual identity to others. It is suggested this distress can be particularly elevated around disclosure of sexual identity to the family. Recent research suggests that the age of disclosure around sexual identity within the family is shifting, but even with the recent growth of research within the lesbian, gay and bisexual community, researchers still do not fully understand the complexities of the 'coming out' process. Aim: This narrative study aimed to collect 'coming out' stories to better understand the process an adolescent goes through in disclosing their sexual identity to family. Participants: Seven participants were recruited through snowball sampling, four adolescents (one female and three male) who self-identified as lesbian or gay and three parents (three mothers) who had children that self-identified as lesbian or gay. Method: Participant stories were audio recorded in one semi-structured narrative interview, lasting up to 90 minutes. A narrative analysis was carried out drawing upon Labov's (1972) structural analysis and an adaption of Polkinghorne's (1995) narrative 'plots' to develop Thematic Concepts from the participant stories. Analysis: The structural analysis showed that participants did not restrict their stories to a single event of 'coming out' to the family. They spoke about 'coming out' experiences based around numerous chronological events across their life to date, and included evaluations of these. Five Thematic Concepts were developed from the seven participant stories - (1) the influence of self - a sense of knowing something; (2) the influence of the school environment; (3) the influence of culture and religion; (4) the influence of the digital age/new media; and (5) the influence of the family. Conclusions and Implications: Research literature suggests that 'coming out' should not be viewed as a one-time event, but an on-going process evolving across the lifespan. Historical and socio-political factors must also be considered in understanding the process of 'coming out'. With regards to clinical practice, this study suggests counselling psychology should be pro-active in advancing educative interventions to address heteronormativity and discrimination within society, as well as considering systemic approaches when working therapeutically with sexual minorities.
Supervisor: Burman, Erica Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Couns.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: family ; coming out ; LGBT ; adolescents ; narrative ; counselling psychology ; sexual identity