A Longitudinal Study of Attempted Religiously Mediated Sexual Orientation Change

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Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy (Impact Factor: 1.27). 10/2011; 37(5):404-27. DOI: 10.1080/0092623X.2011.607052
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The authors conducted a quasi-experimental longitudinal study spanning 6-7 years examining attempted religiously mediated sexual orientation change from homosexual orientation to heterosexual orientation. An initial sample was formed of 72 men and 26 women who were involved in a variety of Christian ministries, with measures of sexual attraction, infatuation and fantasy, and composite measures of sexual orientation and psychological distress, administered longitudinally. Evidence from the study suggested that change of homosexual orientation appears possible for some and that psychological distress did not increase on average as a result of the involvement in the change process. The authors explore methodological limitations circumscribing generalizability of the findings and alternative explanations of the findings, such as sexual identity change or adjustment.

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    ABSTRACT: This study examined sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) by 1,612 individuals who are current or former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Data were obtained through a comprehensive online survey from both quantitative items and open-ended written responses. A minimum of 73% of men and 43% of women in this sample attempted sexual orientation change, usually through multiple methods and across many years (on average). Developmental factors associated with attempts at sexual orientation change included higher levels of early religious orthodoxy (for all) and less supportive families and communities (for men only). Among women, those who identified as lesbian and who reported higher Kinsey attraction scores were more likely to have sought change. Of the 9 different methods surveyed, private and religious change methods (compared with therapist-led or group-based efforts) were the most common, started earlier, exercised for longer periods, and reported to be the most damaging and least effective. When sexual orientation change was identified as a goal, reported effectiveness was lower for almost all of the methods. While some beneficial SOCE outcomes (such as acceptance of same-sex attractions and reduction in depression and anxiety) were reported, the overall results support the conclusion that sexual orientation is highly resistant to explicit attempts at change and that SOCE are overwhelmingly reported to be either ineffective or damaging by participants. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    Journal of Counseling Psychology 03/2014; DOI:10.1037/cou0000011 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract This study reports the results of a comprehensive online survey of 1,612 current or former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) many of whom engaged in psychotherapy in an effort to cope with (understand, accept, or change) their same-sex attractions. Data obtained from written and quantitative responses showed that therapy was initiated over a very wide age range and continued for many years. However, counseling was largely ineffective; less than 4% reported any modification of core same-sex erotic attraction. Moreover, 42% reported that their change-oriented therapy was "not at all effective," and 37% found it to be moderately to severely harmful. In contrast, affirming psychotherapeutic strategies were often found to be beneficial in reducing depression, increasing self-esteem, and improving family and other relationships. Our data suggest that the very low likelihood of a modification of sexual orientation and the ambiguous nature of any such change should be important considerations for highly religious sexual minority individuals considering reorientation therapy.
    Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 05/2014; DOI:10.1080/0092623X.2014.915907 · 1.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper was presented at a 2013 conference at the United Nations Church Center in New York City. The conference, “Selling the Promise of Change: International Health and Policy Consequences of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE),” was sponsored by the NGO Committee on Human Rights and the NGO Committee on HIV/AIDS. The paper begins with a review of the history of mental health attitudes toward homosexuality from the 19th century to the present. This is followed by a discussion of how SOCE shifted from a clinical debate to a culture war issue. The paper then reviews some research issues raised by the Spitzer (2003) study, some of the problematic clinical and ethical issues raised by efforts to change sexual orientation, and concludes with a summary of the position statements of the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association.
    Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health 01/2015; 19(1):84-93. DOI:10.1080/19359705.2014.944460

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