Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marriage and Family Therapy


Linda Stone Fish

Second Advisor

Mary Ann Middlemiss


Coming-out experience, Family dynamics, Family Therapy, Lesbian, Mother-daughter relationship, Taiwan

Subject Categories

East Asian Languages and Societies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies


Many studies, both in the United States and in Taiwan, have explored how the coming-out experience influenced LGBT individuals and their families, and some studies have also addressed how their familial relationships have been shaped because of the experience. As a Taiwanese who has studied family therapy in the United States, my personal experience as well as research and professional interest brought me to conduct this qualitative study focusing on the experience of coming out in mother-daughter relationships in Taiwan. Nine dyads of mothers and daughters were interviewed and provided their retrospective accounts of their experience of disclosure and how they made meaning of this particular experience. Both parties shared their perspectives on the process of coming out, and mothers addressed their process of acceptance as well as other family members' reactions. Results indicated that disclosure could be seen as a special event that was embedded and then processed in the mother-daughter relationship; therefore the nature of the parent-child relationship was very influential in how the disclosure was treated. In addition, Confucianism beliefs address the importance of the role of each family member, and these beliefs appear to influence how mothers and daughters interact and shape their relationship. Also, family dynamics had a great impact on these dyads' experience of coming out and mothers' levels of acceptance, which resonated with previous findings that family values are crucial to people from Asian cultural heritage. Rather than focusing on preparing a perfect disclosure event, it seems as if therapists should pay more attention to disclosure and acceptance as an ongoing process.


Open Access