Attachment Styles, Parental Relationships and Changes in Sexual Orientation




Kaiser, Sierra E.

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Sexual orientation throughout a lifespan is not always constant. The stability of sexual orientation depends on many factors. This study examines how adult attachment styles and parental relationship satisfaction relate to changes in sexual orientation throughout the four stages of life. Past research on attachment styles has investigated how infant-caregiver relationships, adolescent and adult romantic relationships influence sexual behavior, yet little is known about how these relationships influence the stability of sexual orientation. Participants completed an online survey including an Adult Attachment Scale (AAS) questionnaire and were also asked to report on their sexual orientation, maternal and paternal relationship satisfaction throughout childhood, preadolescences, adolescence and adulthood. Using independent-sample t-tests, linear regressions and correlations, we found that high scores on the anxiety dimension of the attachment scale and low parental relationship satisfaction were contributing factors for more changes in sexual orientation. Anxiety mediated the relationship between parental relationship satisfaction and the stability of sexual orientation. Lower levels of relationship satisfaction were associated with higher levels of anxiety, and higher levels of anxiety were associated with more changes in sexual orientation. Future research should look into other social or psychological factors that contribute to changes in sexual orientation.



Attachment styles, Parental relationships, Sexual orientation


Kaiser, S. E. (2020). <i>Attachment styles, parental relationships and changes in sexual orientation</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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