The following are highlights from a letter:
"Spitzer's "Retraction": What Does It Really Mean?"
No new scientific finding has discredited the study. The same arguments originally made for or against it, still stand.
by Christopher H. Rosik, Ph.D.
At the time his study was published, Spitzer (2003a) reported, "...there was a marked reduction on all change measures. This was not only on the three measures of overt behavior and sexual orientation self-identity...but also on the seven variables assessing sexual orientation itself" (p. 410). In addition, 119 of his sample of 200 participants reported achieving "Good Heterosexual Functioning," which was defined in terms of increasing satisfaction in opposite sex sexual behaviors and decreased same-sex fantasy.
In spite of all the recent media hoopla, nothing has really changed regarding the interpretive choice one faces regarding the limitations of self-report in this study. Either all of the accounts across all of the measures of change across participant and spousal reports are self-deceptions and/or deliberate fabrications, or they suggest it is possible that some individuals actually do experience change in the dimensions of sexual orientation. Good people can disagree about which of these interpretive conclusions they favor, but assuredly it is not unscientific or unreasonable to continue to believe the study supports the plausibility of change.
...It is unfortunate but not surprising that reports of sexual-orientation change are subject to unrelenting skepticism while other self-report data such as that of Shidlo and Schroeder (2002) seem to be reified as universal fact even though they suffer from similar limitations. . If Spitzer's study is to be rejected for its use of self-report data, should not methodologically equivalent research against SOCE receive a similarly skeptical reception? While scientific fairness would seem to demand this, political interests clearly do not.
That's exactly what I've been saying and writing about such "studies" and "research."
Spitzer currently suffers from Parkinson's disease and is in the twilight of his life, which makes it understandable that he would reflect on what sort of legacy he wants to leave. Hero or villain, icon or pariah-which legacy would anyone prefer to have? I can not say for sure that these non-scientific considerations influenced Spitzer's decision to "retract" his study, but I can say that it is hard for me to conceive how they would not. Spitzer likely knows infinitely more gay and lesbian persons than he does individuals who report change in sexual orientation. This may have made it difficult for him to see that in trying to atone for the harm gay men and lesbians in his professional network claimed resulted from the study, he simultaneously caused harm to participants in his study who experienced change and now are told they were deceived or lying.
A purely scientific approach to the limitations of Spitzer's research would be to conduct more rigorous outcome research, something that he along with others have been calling for all along (Spitzer, 2003a, 2003b; Jones, Rosik, Williams, & Byrd, 2010). Even the APA Task Force's Report on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (American Psychological Association, 2009) issued a call for such studies to be undertaken. Unfortunately, the reality appears to be that the APA and other institutions in a position to fund and conduct outcome research on SOCE in conjunction with NARTH and other SOCE practitioners have no real interest in doing so. They have nothing to gain by such research, as outcomes unfavorable to SOCE would not meaningfully change their current skepticism, while outcomes favorable to SOCE would be a public relations and public policy disaster for them.
That's a damning but accurate assessment.
Is it really far-fetched to suspect science is being held hostage to political agendas here?
It is far-fetched for any intelligent person who has looked into the matter not to know that homosexuality itself is fighting against the vaunted scientific method. It is clearly twisted thinking working to enlist others, to duped them, and to throw fear into them that they will be in an oppressed minority.
I would rather be unpopular but right. What about you? Are you a conformist to homosexual proselytizing? Are you too afraid to tell the truth that homosex is an error? Males sodomizing each other is not correct behavior. Absolutely nothing good comes as a result of it, only more errors.
It is not good for the individuals or for society at large that homosex has been and is still being condoned.
Mark my words, I will be vindicated on all of this.
American Psychological Association (2009). Report of the APA task force on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/therapeutic-response.pdf
Beckstead, A. L. (2001). Cures versus choice: Agendas in sexual reorientation therapy. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy, 5(3/4), 87-115.
Bell, A. P., Weinberg, M. S., & Hammersmith, S. K. (1981). Sexual preference: Its development in men and women. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Dreger, A. (2012, April 11). How to ex an "ex-gay" study. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://psychologytoday.com/blog/fetishes-i-dont-get/201204/how-ex-ex-gay-study
Jones, S. L., Rosik, C. H., Williams, R. N., & Byrd, A. D. (2010). A Scientific, Conceptual, and Ethical Critique of the Report of the APA Task Force on Sexual Orientation. The General Psychologist, 45(2), 7-18. Retrieved from
Shidlo, A., & Schroeder, M. (2002). Changing sexual orientation: A consumers' report. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33, 249-259.
Spitzer, R. L. (2003a). Can some gay men and lesbians change their sexual orientation? 200 participants reporting a change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32(5), 403-417.
Spitzer, R. L. (2003b). Reply: Study results should not be dismissed and justify further research on the efficacy of sexual reorientation therapy. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32(5), 469-472.
Spitzer, R. L. (2012). Spitzer reassesses his 2003 study of reparative therapy of homosexuality [Letter to the editor]. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10508-012-9966-y
Wakefield, J. C. (2003). Sexual reorientation therapy: Is it ever ethical? Can it ever change sexual orientation? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32(5), p. 457-459.
Vonholdt, C. R. (2001). Interview with Robert L. Spitzer: Homosexuality and the reality of change. Bulletin of the German Institute for Youth and Society, 1, 33-36. Retrieved from http://www.dijg.de/english/homosexuality-reality-of-change/
Yarhouse, M. A. (2003). How Spitzer's study gives a voice to the disenfranchised within a minority group. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32(5), 462-463.
Christopher H. Rosik is a very clear thinker on this subject. He is not being fooled by the American Psychological Association's (APA) political correctness.
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