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    What would it be like to be a parent? Exploring the role of sexual orientation and culture on perceptions of parenthood in the future

    Gato, J. and Tasker, Fiona and Shenkman, G. and Leal, D. (2022) What would it be like to be a parent? Exploring the role of sexual orientation and culture on perceptions of parenthood in the future. Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC 19 , pp. 1611-1623. ISSN 1553-6610.

    GatoTaskerShenkman&Leal March2022 Accepted Ms What would it be like to be a parent & sexual orientation SRSP BIROn.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

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    Objective: This study explored the impact of sexual orientation and cultural context on the way lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB) and heterosexual cisgender adults without children from Portugal, Israel, and the UK anticipate the parenting experience. Background: Higher levels of parenthood aspirations (e.g. desires and intentions) and more positive perceptions of the parenting experience (e.g. emotional enrichment upon having children) have been reported among heterosexual individuals than LGB ones, and more so in familistic societies than in individualistic ones. However, perceptions of the parenting experience have rarely been examined across different cultural contexts. Methods: One-hundred and sixty-eight adults without children (57 self-reported as LGB) in Portugal were matched on socio-demographic variables with 168 participants from the UK and 168 participants from Israel, resulting in a convenience sample of N = 504 (Heterosexual: n = 333, Mage = 27.48, SD = 5.47; LGB: n = 171, Mage = 29.77, SD = 7.12). Results: Overall, participants from Israel and Portugal, as well as heterosexual participants in general, perceived parenting in a more positive way than either their counterparts in the UK or LGB participants, respectively. Parallel patterns also appeared separately for LGB and heterosexual participants, with higher levels of social support and lower levels of stigma anticipated in both Portugal and Israel than the UK. Conclusion: Both sexual orientation and the socio-cultural context are associated with parenting perceptions. However, the effect of the cultural context seems to surmount that of sexual orientation, with both LGB and heterosexual individuals from more familistic countries anticipating parenthood in a more positive way, than their peers from the UK. Implications: Repercussions of the findings include consideration of the needs of prospective LGB parents in terms of social support, culturally competent and affirmative interventions regarding LGB parenthood, and policies targeting prejudice and counteracting heteronormativity.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): perceptions of parenting, sexual orientation, cross-cultural comparisons, heteronormativity, enrichment, anticipation of stigma
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Gender and Sexuality, Birkbeck (BiGS)
    Depositing User: Fiona Tasker
    Date Deposited: 17 May 2022 08:54
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:16


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