Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Dawn M. Szymanski

Committee Members

Donna M. Braquet, Joseph R. Miles, Gina P. Owens


Although the negative outcomes of heterosexist discrimination have been well researched in the psychological literature, positive coping mechanisms and outcomes, such as engagement in activism aimed at improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) individuals, are understudied. The present study examined potential mediators (i.e., LGBQ relational connectedness, search for meaning, and heterosexism awareness), moderators (i.e., LGBQ identity centrality and perceived efficacy for collective action), and moderated mediation of the link between heterosexist discrimination and activism among 867 LGBQ adults. Results revealed that heterosexist discrimination was directly and indirectly (via search for meaning and heterosexism awareness) related to LGBQ activism. Identity centrality moderated the heterosexist discrimination→heterosexism awareness link and indicated support for moderated mediation via conditional process analyses. More specifically, heterosexist discrimination predicted heterosexist awareness for LGBQ persons with low, moderate, and high identity centrality but the relations were stronger for those with low identity centrality.

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