Thomas Roskos

Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services

First Advisor

Kara Wettersten


The purpose of this study was to explore the close relationship experiences of adults raised by sexual minority parents. The study used a Grounded Theory (GT) method. Seven individuals that were either born to sexual minority parents or found out their parents were sexual minorities later in life participated in this present study. Each participant completed an over the phone, semi-structured interview. Specifically, questions were asked regarding their family history, relationships with their parents, peers, romantic partners, and others, their experiences with heterosexism, their experiences coming out, and their perspectives on sexuality and gender.

In accordance with GT, the data was analyzed by following three general steps: (a) creating codes for each participant's responses, (b) developing categories of common codes through a constant comparison technique, and (c) generating a theoretical model that was based in the experiences of the participants. This qualitative analysis revealed several meaningful categories pertaining to the relationship experiences of adults raised in same-sex families. The categories that emerged in this study included: (a) developing an identity, (b) managing discrimination experiences, (c) developing disclosing strategies, (d) selecting romantic partners, (e) understanding contextual influences informing partner selection, (f) generating gender roles, and (g) developing broader ideas on sexuality. The central construct, the unifying theme among all the categories, was acceptance. These categories lead to a thorough and rich understanding of the participants' experiences of relationships, particularly romantic relationships. There are several important findings that have implications for future research.