Document details

Theoretical and empirical contributions for a scientific understanding of attitudes toward same-sex families in Portugal

Author(s): Costa, Pedro Alexandre Nunes da

Date: 2013

Persistent ID:

Origin: uBibliorum

Subject(s): Parentalidade; Homoparentalidade - Portugal; Homossexualidade; Casamento homossexual - Portugal


Parenting competencies of gay men and lesbians have been challenged based on a number of arguments rooted on the assumption that homosexuality implies an inability to parent adequately. A large body of knowledge on gay and lesbian families have shown that children raised by gay and lesbians parents fare at least as well as children raised by heterosexual parents, and gay and lesbian parents also show similar competences to their heterosexual counterparts. However, despite this unequivocal evidence, negative beliefs about gay and lesbian people, and gay and lesbian parents is highly prevalent and widespread throughout the Western world. The aim of this thesis is to explore Portuguese heterosexuals’ attitudes toward gay and lesbian families, and sociodemographic and psychological predictors of these attitudes. This thesis is organized through the compilation of articles written in the course of this research (published, in press, or submitted), and it is divided in six chapters. The first chapter consists of a literature review about gay and lesbian parenting. The second chapter reports a study of attitudes toward gay and lesbian parenting with a general sample of 993 heterosexuals, in which the arguments against same-sex parents were analyzed through content analysis, and the differences on the evaluations of same-sex and different-sex parents were evaluated from the answers to a case vignette. The third chapter evaluates the effects of gender, political leaning, and religious affiliation in predicting negative attitudes toward same-sex parents among 993 heterosexual individuals. The fourth chapter reports the development of three new measures: The Attitudes toward Gay and Lesbian Parents Scale, The Attitudes toward Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Scale, and the Beliefs about the Etiology of Homosexuality measure, with a sample of 292 university students. The fifth chapter evaluates the value of interpersonal contact with gay and lesbian people in improving heterosexuals’ attitudes toward them as parents, using a general sample of 1690 people. The sixth and final chapter presents a path analysis study of predictors of negative beliefs about gay and lesbian parenting in a sample of 1933 people. The results of the studies provided evidence of the existence of differences in the evaluation of heterosexual, gay, and lesbian couple as parents, in detriment of same-sex couples. In predicting attitudes toward gay and lesbian parents, all of the variables included in the analyses were significant; Higher levels of sexual prejudice were shown by men, and person who were older, politically conservative, religious, had few gay/lesbian friends, little comfort with gay and lesbian people, and who had beliefs that homosexuality was a choice and controllable. Implications of these findings are discussed in light of the effects of sexual prejudice on the well-being of gay and lesbian families, both from an individual and societal perspectives. Limitations of the studies are acknowledged, and recommendations for future research are presented.

Document Type Doctoral thesis
Language English
Advisor(s) Pereira, Henrique Marques; Leal, Isabel Pereira
Contributor(s) Costa, Pedro Alexandre Nunes da
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