Is the Coming Out of an LGBTQIA+ Child a Death-like Event for Italian Parents?

Nicola Biancotto, Gianmarco Biancalani, Lucia Ronconi, Ines Testoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parents of LGBTQIA+ individuals often report experiencing an affective state similar to grief after their children’s coming out. The current study explores whether this experience resembles that of people who have recently lost someone close. Furthermore, we tested whether the parents’ alexythimic traits are associated with their grief-like experience. In a sample of 194 parents who experienced their children’s coming out, we administered the Integration of Stressful Life Events Scale (ISLES), the Social Meaning In Life Events Scale (SMILES), and the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20). The results showed no significant differences in the mean scores of ISLES and SMILES between the present and bereaved samples by their creators. In addition, in the present sample, lower ISLES and SMILES scores were associated with higher alexithymic traits. Overall, these findings suggest a resemblance between the experience of parents following their children’s coming out and that of bereaved individuals. Therefore, they could inform on how to assist parents in coming to terms with the coming out of an LGBTQIA+ child.

Original languageEnglish
Article number577
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • coming out
  • LGBTQIA+ child
  • loss
  • parents
  • social meaning-making
  • stressful experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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