Sexual Minority Adolescents’ Disclosure of Sexual Identity to Family: A Systematic Review and Conceptual Framework

Daye Son, Kimberly A. Updegraff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Sexual minority adolescents’ disclosure of sexual identity to family plays a significant role in their identity development. Studies have identified various predictors of coming out to family, yet these findings have yet to be systematically integrated to identify gaps and directions of future research. The goal of this study was to conduct a systematic review of predictors of sexual minority adolescents’ and young adults’ disclosure to family about their sexual identity. Drawing upon an existing conceptual model of antecedents of disclosure of stigmatized identities to organize the findings, this review focused on individual characteristics and proximal (e.g., familial and social) and distal (e.g., historical) environmental factors that influence disclosure to family. A total of 35 empirical studies were included. Regarding individual factors, less internalized homonegativity and greater identification of sexual identity promoted disclosure. Among familial and social factors, positive family relationship quality and friend support predicted greater disclosure. Distal environmental factors included differences in the proportion of disclosure by historical periods. The findings highlight the important role of acceptance and visibility of sexual minorities within family and social environments in promoting youth’s disclosure of sexual identity to family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-95
Number of pages21
JournalAdolescent Research Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Coming out
  • Disclosure
  • Family
  • Sexual identity
  • Sexual minority
  • Sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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