Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Human Sciences (Child, Youth, and Family Studies), Under the Supervision of Professors Yan Ruth Xia and John DeFrain. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2011

Copyright 2011 Maureen E. Todd


Using the qualitative method of grounded theory, data were collected from 21 couples who identified as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and/or Transgender (GLBT) from across the country. The purpose of this grounded theory was to generate a model that explains the process of developing family strengths in GLBT couples. In-depth interviews (both in person and phone interviews), observations with field notes, and member checking were used. A theoretical model was developed describing 1) the central phenomenon of strong GLBT families, 2) the contexts in which GLBT families thrive, 3) the various strategies GLBT couples use to build and maintain their strengths, and 4) the intervening conditions and outcomes of these strengths. These findings support the notion that strong GLBT families are more similar to strong heterosexual families than they are different and offer alternatives to the standard problem focused approach to studying GLBT families. This research can assist clinicians in helping GLBT couples bolster their strength and suggests implications for public policy.