Jones’ and Yarhouse’s Ex-Gay Study Released

Jim Burroway

September 14th, 2007

The results of Stanton Jones’ and Mark Yarhouse’s Exodus study were released yesterday. I have a synopsis of that study that I’m reviewing now. Short take: The methodology seems to be pretty good, (I’m especially happy to see them use standardized measures for sexuality, something that Spitzer didn’t do).

The greatest weakness is its small sample size, and I’m concerned about the cohorts that they added to the study to try to beef it up. They originally wanted to study Exodus participants who were in their first year of attending an Exodus member ministry, but when they couldn’t find enough subjects they added a cohort of strugglers who had been in the ministry for one to three years. I don’t think there’s anything nefarious going on there, but so far I can’t sort out how those cohorts affected the results. I think that for what’s supposed to be a longitudinal study, this is critically important. I also question their claims that their sample is representative of Exodus participants. So far as I can tell, they fail to justify that claim.

These are just first quick impressions from the synopsis. I’ll have more for tomorrow morning late tomorrow afternoon. The study itself is a 375-page book. I’m trying to obtain an advance copy, and when I do it will obviously take a great deal of time to go through it.


September 14th, 2007

I’m most interested in how this longitudinal study deals with one of the major issues with Exodus and other “change” ministries – the complete lack of standardization of “treatment.” There are no clinical practice guidelines for “ex-gay” therapy, in fact, IIRC, Exodus does not even catalogue the various “treatments” used by its member groups. If that is the case, the question becomes, exactly what are we studying here?


September 14th, 2007

Another thing I’d like to see is how bisexuality is treated.

I know 4 people who, in college, claimed to be bisexual. Two men, and Two women. Ten years later, none of them is in a same-sex relationship, nor have they expressed any interest in pursuing one anymore. Two are even in happy heterosexual marriages.

None of the four is particularly religious, and none have claimed to be ex-gay, been “healed” of their bisexual ways, and all are quite supportive of the gay community. They were all quite pleased to hear that I had come out years ago.

Part of my point is that bisexuality and bicuriousity is routinely ignored by the ex-gay industry. Had my four friends been in distress and entered an ex-gay program they would’ve been categorized as homosexual, their current lack of same-sex partners deemed a success, and become testimony that the “therapies” involved are successful.

There are very few true bisexuals, people with an active interest in both sexes that they are willing to pursue. There are a lot of bicurious people who upon experiencing a same-sex relationship realize that it’s just not what they were looking for, and that they miss certain aspects of the opposite sex very much.

My theory is that a lot of bicurious and bisexual people enter therapy, are labeled homosexual and then labeled as a success. In reality they might have found an opposite-sex mate without all the drama, and that these bisexual and bicurious people shouldn’t be included. It delivers misleading data.

Ben in Oakland

September 14th, 2007

Very similar to the Masters and johnson “change” study many years ago. It turns out most of the people that weree “changeable” turned out to be bi to begin with.

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