Publication Date

2017-04-25

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2018-10-17

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense

2016-12-05

First Committee Member

Debbiesiu Lee

Second Committee Member

Soyeon Ahn

Third Committee Member

Anabel Bejarano

Fourth Committee Member

Robert Johnson

Fifth Committee Member

Carlos Perez-Benitez

Abstract

Empirical literature examining lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) sexual orientation disclosure and concealment is prolific. Theoretical literature on disclosure and concealment of non-visible stigmatized identities, such as a sexual minority identity, have argued that disclosure is associated with improved social and health outcomes whereas concealment is associated with negative social and health outcomes. Empirical findings examining the relationships between LGB disclosure and concealment and outcome variables, however, have conflicted. This study clarified conflicting empirical findings utilizing model-based meta-analysis. Utilizing a total of 583 correlations from a database of 157 studies, random-effects modeling was used to determine the weighted mean relationship between disclosure and support-related and outcome variables. Demographic and methodological variables identified in previous empirical literature were also tested as moderating variables in the relationship between disclosure and support-related and outcome variables. Finally, support-related variables were tested as mediators in the disclosure—outcome relationship. Results of this study indicated that, despite conflicting findings in past research, disclosure is a beneficial process and statistically significantly associated with increased social support and improved mental/physical health and work/school outcomes. Moderation findings indicated that publication year of empirical studies explained mixed findings in the relationship between disclosure and mental health outcomes. Finally, results from the meta-analytic path analyses indicated that general social support and disclosure confidant acceptance mediated the disclosure—outcome relationship providing empirical evidence for the importance of support-related variables that comes from disclosing one’s LGB sexual orientation. Findings from this meta-analysis offer important implications to theory, research, clinical practice, and public policy.

Keywords

Disclosure; Concealment; Coming-Out; LGBT; Gay; Lesbian

Available for download on Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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