Examining Parenting Perceptions Among Gay Adoptive Fathers: Do Experiences with Minority Stress Influence Parental Competency?

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The purpose of this study was to explore factors that may influence gay adoptive fathers' perceptions of their parental competency, or fathers' confidence in and satisfaction with their parenting role. Minority stress theory guided the conceptual model and research questions for the present study. It was hypothesized that minority stress would be negatively associated with perceived parental competency and that fathers' use of internal (cognitive) and external (behavioral) coping strategies would attenuate the impact of minority stress on perceptions of parental competency.

 The sample (n = 94) included adoptive gay fathers who were primarily white, highly educated, married/partnered, and from a middle- to upper-class socioeconomic background. A recruitment letter explaining the study with a link to an online survey was emailed to various organizations, including gay-affirming religious institutions, LGB parenting and advocacy organizations, adoption agencies, and LGBT college/university alumni groups. Completed surveys were compiled on a secure internet website. This study revealed that minority stress is significantly negatively associated with perceived parental competency. Although coping was not a significant moderating variable in the path between minority stress and perceptions of parental competency, internal coping strategies were significant positive predictors of perceived parental competency while external coping strategies were significant negative predictors of perceived parental competency. Implications for future research, clinical practice, and legal/policy endeavors are discussed.