Date of Award
Master of Public Health (MPH)
School of Public Health
John E. Pachankis
Objectives. We investigated the associations between parental religiosity and SGM child’s mental health (e.g., depression, anxiety/worry) and related social difficulties (i.e., bullying).
Methods. 205 parents with an SGM child under 30 years old completed an online survey evaluating the parent-child relationship and their child’s mental health and social difficulties. Parents were stratified into three groups based on religious affiliation (e.g., religious vs. not religious) and religion’s acceptance of LGBTQ people (e.g., less accepting vs. more accepting). Multivariable logistic regressions were used to examine the associations between parental religiosity and parent-reported psychosocial outcomes. We also examined the effect of an interaction between parental support and parental religiosity on the psychosocial outcomes of the child.
Results. After adjusting for covariates, Parents with no religious affiliation were significantly less likely to report that their child experienced anxiety in the last 6 months, compared to parents affiliated with a less accepting religion (odds ratio = 0.42; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.176, 0.98). After adjusting for parental support, we found that children of parents who were associated with a more accepting religion had a significantly greater odds of experiencing substance use, compared to children of parents who are associated a less accepting religion (odds ratio = 10.21; [CI] = 1.07, 97.14). However, due to small cell sizes, the CI was unstable. At low levels of parental support, parents with no religious affiliation were 0.001 times as likely ([CI] = 0.00, 0.35) to report that their child experienced anxiety/worry and 0.006 times as likely ([CI] = 0.00, 0.61) to report that their child experienced depression, compared to parents affiliated with a less accepting religion. At high levels of parental support, parents affiliated with no religion were no more likely to report that their child experienced anxiety/worry or depression than parents affiliated with a less accepting religion (aOR=1.269, [CI] = 0.42, 3.86; aOR=1.796, [CI] = 0.55, 5.86), suggesting that parental support of a child’s LGBTQ status outweighs the negative impact of homophobic religiosity.
Conclusions. These findings demonstrate the importance of parental support within religious communities, particularly within religions that are less accepting of SGMs, and has implications to inform research and clinical practice when engaging SGM youth.
Higginbottom, Jackson, "The Association Of Parental Religious Affiliation And Their Lgbtq Children’s Mental Health: A Study Of Parents" (2020). Public Health Theses. 2051.