All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jessica H Mirman

Advisory Committee Members

David Schwebel

Mieke Thomeer

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


Disclosure of sexuality by coming out is a central part of the process of self-identification for LGBT youth (Denes & Afifi, 2014). Parents’ initial response to their child’s coming out is linked to parent-child relationship satisfaction and if the child will later feel the need to come out for a second time or to clarify their sexual identity (Denes et al. 2014). Parental acceptance of LGBT youth’s disclosure has been linked to higher self-esteem and lower rates of suicidal tendencies, depression, and substance abuse (Needham & Austin, 2010; Ryan, Russell, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez, 2010). Current research regarding parent reactions to disclosure events focuses on outcomes after the disclosure event and not on the driving factors for those reactions. Moreover, research is lacking on the experience of people living in the Deep South of the US, with the majority of research on this topic being conducted in coastal, more sociocultural liberal settings. Determining what factors influence how and why parents react in certain ways is important for the development of interventions that can promote positive family functioning and the psychological and physical wellbeing of queer youth. Parents of queer youth living in the Deep South of the United States (N=24) were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide and then completed a series of surveys. These interviews informed the development a conceptual model of how parents process and react to disclosure events, and how this process may affect queer youth.