Current Rockway Institute Research Projects

LGBT Scientific Accuracy in Media Project:

Funded in part by a grant from the Gill Foundation, the Rockway Institute is assembling a national cadre of 75-100 scientists studying LGBT issues to convey the results of their research to the media. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) will provide media training to these experts, and we will deploy them for television, radio, and print media interviews, especially when spokespeople are needed on talk shows to debate antigay ideologues or as commentators on current LGBT events. In addition, Rockway Institute will write (and GLAAD will help distribute to news media) a steady stream of press releases, a public policy newsletter, and public policy reports describing the latest LGBT research findings with policy implications. In this way, the Institute will serve as a scientific counterpoint to antigay groups distributing misinformation and propaganda to the media.

Emotional Intelligence in Children of Lesbian, Gay, or Heterosexual Parents:

This study being conducted by researcher Shawn Giammattei examines parenting styles that may be associated with the emotional intelligence of children raised by lesbian, gay male, or heterosexual parents. Of special importance, the emotional intelligence of the children is being measured not only through self-report questionnaires but also by teachers’ ratings of the children in the three types of families.  This study is likely to have significant implications for legal and social policy pertaining to lesbians and gay men’s parenting rights (child custody, adoption).

Gay Male Couples Longitudinal Follow-up Study:

This study being conducted by researcher Jason Jones will follow-up on a sample of 126 gay male couples whose interactional patterns were carefully assessed 8 years ago by CSPP researcher Kevin Campbell. The follow-up study seeks to determine which couples stayed together versus separated, and what are the predictors and reasons for breaking-up over an 8-year period. Variables examined at the initial assessment included the partners’ closeness, openness of communication, and intrusiveness with each other. Variables examined at the second assessment include whether the couple is still together and, if so, their current levels of satisfaction with the relationship. For couples who are separated, reasons for breaking-up also are assessed. The long-range goal is to design intervention programs that will help gay couples maintain satisfying, committed, long-term relationships.

Comparing Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Couples from the Mid-1970s to 2000:

This study being coordinated by researcher Gabrielle Gotta compares responses to the same questionnaire from a national sample of lesbian, gay male, and heterosexual couples in the mid-1970s to a different national sample of such couples in the year 2000. The mid-1970s data originally were collected by researchers Phillip Blumstein and Pepper Schwartz at the University of Washington and are archived at Radcliffe College. The more recent data were collected by Esther Rothblum, Sondra Solomon, and Kimberly Balsam at the University of Vermont and have been given to the Rockway Institute for the present study. Comparing these two cohorts will shed light on what changes, if any, have occurred in these three types of couple relationships over the last 30 years in the United States.

Gay Men’s Coming-Out Follow-up Study

This study being conducted by researcher Robert McMillan will follow-up on 155 gay men studied 10 years ago by researcher Kevin Pedretti.Of these men, 127 had come out to their parents whereas 28 had not come out to their parents between the ages of 18 and 36. Although there have been several studies of the initial coming-out process, there have been few studies of what happens to family relationships afterwards. This 10-year follow-up study will examine changes in parent/son relationships as a function of length of time being out and as a function of the kinds of conversations about being gay that parents and sons have after coming out. The ultimate goals are to understand what factors predict parents’ levels of closeness, openness of communication, and intrusiveness after the initial disclosure, and to design intervention programs to improve family relationships of gay men.