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Wiedeman, G.H. (1977). Male Homosexuals. Their Problems and Adaptations: By Martin S. Weinberg and Colin J. Williams. New York, London and Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1974. 316 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 46:333-336.
(1977). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 46:333-336
Male Homosexuals. Their Problems and Adaptations: By Martin S. Weinberg and Colin J. Williams. New York, London and Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1974. 316 pp.
Review by: George H. Wiedeman
The authors of this volume, both research sociologists, published this study of male homosexuals under the auspices of the Institute for Sex Research, founded by the late A. C. Kinsey and at present directed by Paul Gebhart. In his foreword, Gebhart stresses the fact that the book deals primarily with "adaptations within a homosexual life style" (p. v). The book attempts to correct or to counteract what the authors consider the clinical bias of psychiatrists—the tendency to consider homosexuality a psychopathological condition. Since the samples on which clinicians base their conclusions are their patients, they "cannot provide much knowledge about homosexuals in toto" (p. 4), the authors maintain.
The investigation was conducted between 1965 and 1970 in four metropolitan areas: New York, San Francisco, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. The two European cities were specifically chosen because in Denmark and Holland homosexuality, if practiced by consenting adults in private, is not subject to any legal sanctions. In the United States, the severity of the law against homosexuality and its actual application vary from state to state, and sometimes from locality to locality: homosexual behavior can represent a criminal act with punishment up to a life term in prison.
Weinberg and Williams conducted a questionnaire study in the four cities. Their research instrument contained one hundred forty-five multiple choice questions that permitted statistical evaluation. The fourth question, for instance, "I take a positive attitude to myself," could be answered as follows: 1) strongly agree; 2) agree; 3) am not sure; 4) disagree; 5) strongly disagree.
Psychological factors were assigned by the authors to the following broad categories: self-acceptance, stability of self-concept, depression, psychosomatic symptoms, anxiety regarding homosexuality, nervous breakdown, interpersonal awkwardness, faith in others, loneliness,
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