This research examined whether a sense of belonging in the community and sexual orientation were associated with depression among men. Australian heterosexual (n=136) and gay (n=137) men wre recruited through a variety of media, including newpapers, radio, and email, and directly at public events and in the street. Responses on the Sense of Belonging Instrument and the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scales indicated that gay ment reported lower levels of sense of belonging to the community and higher levels of depression compared with heterosexual men. Results revealed that sense of belonging to the community mediated the relation between sexual orientation and depression. The findings did not support the additive or moderation models. The results imply that, for the mental health of gay men to improve, their sense of belonging needs to increase but that a reduction in the level of homophobia in the general community would seem necessary for this to occur.
This is the first study of attitudes of Australian heterosexuals toward heterosexual, gay male, and lesbian parents and the children raised by these parents. A sample of Australian heterosexual males and females read one of six vignettes describing a family situation. Participants assessed the parents' emotional stability, responsibility, and competence; how loving, sensitive, and nurturing they were; the amount of quality time they spent with their child; and their ability to be good role models. Results indicated participants held negative attitudes toward gay male and lesbian same-sex parents. Participants believed that children raised by same-sex parents are more likely to experience confusion over their sexual orientation and gender identity, more likely to be homosexual, and more likely to experience strained peer relationships as well as stigma and teasing than children raised by heterosexual parents. Level of sexual prejudice was the key predictor of attitudes toward same-sex parents and the expected outcomes for their children. Being male, older, and having fewer children were additional predictors of attitudes towards same-sex parents, whereas being older and less religiouswas associatedwith expected negative outcomes for the children. Substantial attitudinal shifts are required before gay male and lesbian parents and their children are fully accepted into Australian communities.