Article

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 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.
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