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Friday, July 21, 2006

 

Hooker on parenting and homosexual orientation



You will have to click on this image to read the first page of this three page reaction By Evelyn Hooker to an article by Evans in the 1969, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Hooker of course did the studies on homosexual men that are credited with providing basis for the 1973 removal of homosexuality from the DSM series. I am doing a review of studies on causality along with GCC prof Gary Welton and ran into this reaction from Hooker.

Note the first sentence: "It can no longer be questioned that faulty, disturbed, or pathological parental relationships in
early childhood are more commonly reported by male homosexual patients than by a comparable group of male heterosexuals."

Of course, cause and effect are issues to wrestle with but I was surprised to read Hooker's perspective here.


Comments:
A great number of things are reported by patients, vs non-patients.

Because:

1) they actually are more troubled etc, hence the reason they are patients in the first place

2) they are seeing a therapist, and therefore more likely to be diagnosed with something, anything. Got to give them something for their $125 per 50-minute-hour.

3) therapist, like most people, also focus firstly on what they think they will find. If the definition is a bit squishy, it can probably be made to fit.

Running a parallel to another post string here: a question for you...

What is the overall ratio of female clients to male clients for the mental health industry in the U.S.?

OK, got that answer... now consider 1), 2) and 3) again.

(And I presume you will remember that Hooker died in 1996? and that a statement in 1969 may not be the be all and end all of her views.)
 
The Evans study was with non-patients; Hooker was commenting on it. I posted this for the historical interest. The Evans study found a slightly worse same sex parent relationship. I think the effect size is likely to be in the single digits. About 30% of Evans participants reported the stereotypic classic triad but so did 10% of the straights.
 
Umm, I know. ???

No. My bad. I cut and pasted without the lead in. Doesn't make much sense in relation to the scanned page otherwise!

"Serious questions are raised about the role of the parent-child disturbed relations as necessary and sufficient conditions leading to adult male homosexuality."
 
It is not surprising that some researchers have found that many gays come from troubled families. DUH!!! So do many straights. Again, this PROVES nothing.

There is a type of fallacy in reasoning called "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" (I think that's right) that means "after this, therefore BECAUSE of this". But, the trouble is, that two things can occur TOGETHER and not necessarily CAUSE each other. Understand?
Couldn't it be that some families are troubled BECAUSE they have a gay child-- and NOT that the troubled family CAUSED a gay child?

For example, my own father had trouble adjusting to my gay feelings and behavior as a child. He liked guns. I liked to play the piano. My Dad, a world War II man, pulled away somehwhat -- because he did not know how to RELATE to me.

This didn't MAKE me gay. It was just my (very traditional) Dad's REACTION to me BEING gay. I have both gay and straight friends who had both good and bad families. SO WHAT?

This very OLD theory -- that bad families make kids gay -- is just that -- a theory. Why doesn't anyone ask what MAKES people straight? The answer is simple -- because they already ASSUME that there is something WRONG with being gay, that something must "cause" it and that it should be "treated". That's not science. That's bigotry.
 
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