|As the Yarhouse/Jones gay conversion study Exgays? nears its official launch date, concerns are rising about whether or not it actually provides as much as the US Christian Right are boasting about their case for the 'changeability' of sexual orientation.
While the study does deal with the question of long-term duration, which has been a flaw in many other alleged 'gay conversion' research, there are other possible questions to raise about the viability of this study. Given that Yarhouse and Jones couldn't find enough Exodus respondents, they decided to draft in forty one others, and thus, their sample is composite.
Is it a representative sample? In order to ascertain that, one would have to know much more about the so-called exgay community. Are younger respondents dealing with homophobic educational and religious institutions in adolescence? Are older exgays likelier to have grown up in more threatening social environments, leading to an overresponse for compliance? And how representative are these groups in the context of the total population of exgays? Are exgays in fact predominantly heterosexual, with comparatively few same-sex sexual experiences?
What about Exodus dropouts? Were they deleted from the study because they'd end up providing a sample majority to the case that conversion therapy doesn't work- which is what older antigay 'conversion therapy' studies from the pre-Stonewall sixties showed. Homosexuality isn't a 'psychopathology', so there's nothing to be cured.
Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse: Exgays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Motivated Behavioural Change in Sexuality: Wheaton Grove: IVP Academic: 2007 Craig Young - 23rd September 2007