Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

John N. Bohannon III


Participants (N = 83) from Butler University and communities in Indianapolis, IN answered a three part questionnaire regarding their experience revealing their homosexual identity to their parents that included: a narrative, a set of probe questions, and a short demographic section. The narrative and probed recall data were scored in a similar fashion to flashbulb memory narratives with canonical features. The memory of revealing homosexuality to parents displayed flashbulb-like qualities. We found that those most confident in their probed recall answers were those with moderate arousal and few recounts. Also, those reporting moderate affect and fewer recounts had better memory elaboration of their coming out experience. As predicted, if the story of revealing one's homosexuality is retold and rehearsed many times, the effects of the initial arousal disappear. Contrary to our hypothesis, an effect of affect on vividness was not found. The current study provides evidence toward the memories of homosexuals coming out having flashbulb-like characteristics.