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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Cultural socialization has been linked with child development and outcome, but, to date, the majority of research has focused on race and ethnicity. However, since families headed by gay and lesbian parents experience stigma related to parental sexual orientation, socialization practices may be uniquely important for families headed by gay and lesbian parents. The present study examined same-sex parent socialization among 54 families headed by gay and lesbian parents (52 fathers, 43 mothers, 51 school-aged children) using a cultural socialization framework. Findings revealed that parents engaged in socialization along three dimensions: Cultural Socialization, Preparation for Bias, and Proactive Parenting. Children perceived same-sex parent socialization with less frequency than parents reported engaging in these behaviors across all dimensions. In general, same-sex parent socialization was not associated with child behavioral adjustment. Neither same-sex parent socialization nor child behavioral adjustment was associated with whether parents were gay or lesbian. Results from this study justify the need to broaden our conceptualization of cultural socialization to be more inclusive of these diverse family structures.


First Advisor

David G. Scherer

Second Advisor

Rachel H. Farr