Date of Award

12-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Joseph R. Miles

Committee Members

Brent Mallinckrodt, Dawn M. Szymanski

Abstract

Minority stressors like internalized heterosexism have been found to be related to suicidality among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals (e.g., Savin-Williams & Ream, 2003). Additional research is needed, however, to better understand the factors that may serve as moderators (i.e., protective factors) in the relationships between minority stressors and negative mental health outcomes, such as depression and suicidality (e.g., Szymanski et al., 2008). The current study attempted to examine the relationships between internalized heterosexism and two negative mental health outcomes associated with suicide, psychache (defined as unbearable psychological pain) and depression, in a sample of LGB young adults. Given that spirituality has been found to serve as a protective factor against suicide in other populations (e.g., Taliaferro et al., 2009), we also examined whether spiritual well-being served as a protective factor against psychache and depression in our LGB sample. Results showed significant, positive correlations between internalized heterosexism and both psychache and depression. Contrary to our hypotheses, spiritual well-being did not serve as a moderator of the relationships between internalized heterosexism and psychache or depression. Post-hoc mediation analyses revealed, however, that spiritual well-being serves as a partial mediator in the relationships between internalized heterosexism and both psychache and depression. Study limitations, implications, and future directions are considered.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Share

COinS