Parent versus child report of children’s sexual orientation: associations with psychiatric morbidity in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study.
Ann Epidemiol. 2020 May;45:1-4
Authors: Clark KA, Mennies RJ, Olino TM, Dougherty LR, Pachankis JE
PURPOSE: We sought to document the association between parent’s report and their child’s report of the child’s sexual orientation and associations between this agreement/disagreement and the child’s psychiatric morbidity.
METHODS: Data were drawn from 11,565 parent-child dyads who completed the baseline assessment of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study (2016-2018; children ages 9-10 years). Whether the child was “gay or bisexual” was asked separately of parent and child. We created four categories: (1) Concordant No; (2) Discordant: Parent Yes/Maybe, Child No/Unclear; (3) Discordant: Parent No, Child Yes/Maybe; (4) Concordant Yes/Maybe. Parents reported their child’s lifetime psychiatric morbidity (i.e., depression, anxiety, ADHD, ODD, OCD, PTSD, eating disorder, and conduct disorder).
RESULTS: Of parent-child dyads, 960 (7.9%) disagreed about the child’s sexual orientation; the Concordant No dyads reported the lowest psychiatric morbidity compared with the other three dyad groups. Child psychiatric morbidity among the Discordant: Parent Yes/Maybe dyads compared with the Concordant No dyads was elevated across all disorders except PTSD (e.g., depression [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 2.20, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.51-3.21], anxiety [aOR = 1.63, 95% CI: 1.38-1.92], and eating disorder [aOR = 2.63, 95% CI: 1.39-4.68]).
CONCLUSIONS: The sexual orientation disparity in psychiatric morbidity begins in childhood. Parent-child agreement/disagreement of children’s sexual orientation represents a potential marker of this early vulnerability.
PMID: 32439147 [PubMed – in process]