Examining stress and coping as a mediator for internalizing symptomatology: A comparison between sexual minority and majority first-year college students

Tracey J. Riley*, Alexandra C. Kirsch, Jenna B. Shapiro, Colleen S. Conley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents experience unique stressors and elevated internalizing symptoms. This study examines differences in coping styles between SGM and heterosexual adolescents and the potential mediating roles of stress and coping styles. Analyses indicated that SGM (N = 75) adolescents reported higher levels of internalizing symptoms (depression, anxiety, and distress), higher use of maladaptive coping styles (denial and blame), lesser use of adaptive coping styles (reframing and religion), and greater experiences of stress, compared to their heterosexual counterparts (N = 1702). Bootstrapping analyses revealed the relationship between sexual identity and internalizing symptoms measured approximately 3 months later was not mediated by stress and coping, adjusting for gender, age, and baseline symptomatology. Findings suggest that earlier adolescent differences in internalizing symptoms presage increasing symptomatology across the transition to college, and other mediators during the college transition explain the continued increases in internalizing symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-133
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume49
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • College
  • Coping
  • Depression
  • Sexual orientation
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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