Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Coming out (Sexual orientation)-Religious aspects, Lesbians-Identity, Gays-Identity, Bisexuals, Lesbians-Religious life, Gays-Religious life, Bisexuals-Religious life, Religion, Spirituality, Coming out, Sexual identity formation, Queer


Religion, particularly within Judeo-Christian traditions, is an often cited rationale for rejection of homosexuality and persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer. Given the socio-cultural influence of religion, catalyzed through the media, legislation, churches, and families, such frequent defamation could be believed to elicit a moral dilemma for an individual contemplating his/her own sexual identity. This effect might be detectable through the process and age of coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer. This study sought to investigate the direct impact of a religious upbringing on sexual identity formation and was executed through quantitative analysis with a cross-sectional design utilizing a snowball sample, recruited through social networking websites. The sample was comprised of 60 participants, with 49 completed anonymous, online surveys that included 12 demographic questions, the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identity Scale (LGBIS) and the Brief Multi-Measure of Religion and Spirituality (BMMRS). The LGBIS measure was modified to include queer identity. While religion was found to have an effect on the coming out process, significant findings either opposed the hypothesis or were found to be, in general, inconclusive. Future research should focus on recruiting a larger and more diverse sample and perhaps utilize different research measures.




iv, 78 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 52-58)