Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Kristin M. Lindahl

Second Committee Member

Jill Ehrenreich May

Third Committee Member

Neena M. Malik


This study examined religious and sexual identity conflict and gay-related stress, and how they are related to difficulty with LGB identity formation and mental health outcomes. A sample of 172 adolescents and emerging adults were recruited as part of a larger research project. Study participants ranged in age from 14 to 26 years, and identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Descriptive information was collected regarding religious identity and religious/sexual identity conflict in the sample. Additionally, a model was tested that examined LGB identity difficulty as a potential mediator of the relationships between a) religious conflict and mental health, and b) gay-related stress and mental health. The Religious, Spiritual, and Sexual Identities Questionnaire was created to assess religious/spiritual identity and religious and sexual identity conflict. The Measure of Gay-Related Stress was used to measure gay-related stress. The Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identity Scale was used to measure LGB identity difficulty. The Behavior Assessment System for Children was used to measure mental health. Adequate fit for the model was found after removing direct paths from religious/sexual identity conflict and gay-related stress to mental health, indicating that LGB identity difficulty fully accounted for these two relationships. These findings are clinically important as they emphasize the importance of LGB identity difficulty in examining mental health outcomes related to religious conflict and gay-related stress.


Sexual identity; religious conflict; identity conflict; gay-related stress; mental health