Sexual orientation link to past: study

Elisabeth WellsNew Zealanders who identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual, or who have had a same-sex encounter or relationship, tend to come from more disturbed backgrounds, a University of Otago researcher has found.

Information extracted from 13,000 face-to-face interviews clearly showed those with same-sexual or bisexual orientation were more likely to have experienced negative events in childhood, Associate Prof Elisabeth Wells said yesterday.

People who had experienced sexual abuse as children were three times more likely to identity themselves as homosexual or bisexual than those who had not experienced abuse, she said. Also, the more adverse events someone experienced in childhood, the more likely they were to belong to one of the "non-exclusively heterosexual" groups.

Associations between adverse events and sexuality group were found for sexual assault, rape, violence to the child and for witnessing violence in the home.

Other adverse events, such as the sudden death of a loved one, serious childhood illness or accident, were only slightly associated with non-heterosexual identity or behaviour.

Prof Wells, a consultant statistician based in the department of public health and general practice at the university's Christchurch campus, further analysed answers to a series of questions about sexual orientation and home life asked as part of a major New Zealand mental health survey carried out in 2003 and 2004.

She said there was no way of knowing from her study why there was a link between negative events in childhood and same-sex sexual orientation.

"We took a life-course approach, looking at where people had come from and where they have got to. But there was no opportunity to ask people why they [identified as homosexual or bisexual] and whether they thought that was linked to their childhood experiences."

What ever the reason

The research has been done and conclusions have been drawn. I personally am not comfortable with the overall conclusion. But it indicates that either the research is faulty or there is a possible link between sexual abuse and sexual orientation.

To clear the air this research must be either repeated or extensively verified. This research and its conclusion has the potential, especially in religious societies, to cause major problems to those who are not heterosexual.

Also, to those who think that this is an act on men please remember that women have also been know to sexually abuse children.

Being gay

When are people going to stop 'analyising' sexual preference? Dont they have enough for them to work on without forays into other peoples lives?

As a therapist, I have seen thousands of clients with abusive childhoods. The vast majority have been hetrosexual. However, that does not lead me to assume that they choose that orientation because of that abuse.

How about studies that ask what causes people to choose hetrosexuality? If we were to do a survey of the general populace we may be horrified at how many have in fact had abusive childhoods.

Why do the mainstream insist on supporting their supremacy by studying whats supposedly 'wrong' with minority groups: how many Maori's smoke, how many Aborigines have addictions, how many women have inferiority complexes, even.

Statistics can lie and are only ever a cross section of those interviewed and are only representative of the larger population in the absense of interviewing them all. But lets not fool ourselves that they are accurate.

How about celebrating diversity instead of finding reasons to destroy it. Homosexuality is not a mental illness, any more than hetrosexuality is. It's a choice, and we all make choices for very many good reasons to us.


Oh please....

Yet another attempt to link portray homosexuality in a negative light. Give me a break. In this day and age why is this research being done, let alone funded?

If this is the case, then isn't Professor Wells also suggesting that men are the 'cause' of homosexuality?


Royalcourtier: Your comments - which offer a significant window into your own perceived 'functional' personality more than anything else - are outdated.

I can assure you that I work amongst individuals with mental illnesses and dysfunctional personalities every day......and the vast (and I mean vast) majority of them are heterosexuals, from upbringings with no element of abuse whatsoever.

Logic flew out the window

Since homosexuality is neither a mental illness nor a manifestation of a dysfunctional personality, there is nothing remotely "logical that victims of abusive or disturbed childhoods are more likely to be homosexual than those from a safe and happy childhood."

Link between abuse and homosexuality

It is perfectly logical that victims of abusive or disturbed childhoods are more likely to be homosexual than those from a safe and happy childhood.

They are more likely to suffer mental illness,and to be anti-social or engage in criminal activities.

In other words, disturbed childhoods are likely to result in mental illnesses and a dysfunctional personality.