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Publication Date

2008-06-12

Availability

UM campus only

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2008-04-25

First Committee Member

Kristin M. Lindahl - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Amy Weisman de Mamani - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Michael Alessandri - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Neena M. Malik - Committee Member

Fifth Committee Member

Heather Henderson - Committee Member

Sixth Committee Member

Robert Johnson - Outside Committee Member

Abstract

Victimization and family rejection of sexual orientation are two particularly salient stressors facing lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) young people. While initial research has established a link between these sexuality-related stressors and LGB youth mental health outcomes, the factors that underlie this relationship remain unclear. The current study examined the role of negative LGB identity in mediating the relationship between sexuality related stress (i.e., victimization, family rejection) and youth outcomes (i.e., internalizing problems, public outness, substance use, and cigarette smoking). Participants included 81 LGB young people (ages 14 to 25) recruited through college groups, youth organizations, study advertisements, and friend referrals. Path analyses revealed that victimization and family rejection experiences were related to youth internalizing problems via negative LGB identity. Similar results were found for a model predicting public outness. However, stressors and health risk behaviors were not related through negative LGB identity, although some direct relationships between stressors, substance use, and smoking emerged. Limitations and implications of the present study are discussed.

Keywords

Harassment; Sexual Orientation; Sexuality; Violence

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