Sharing positive experiences related to one's sexual orientation: Examining the capitalization process in a sample of gay men

Brian A. Feinstein*, Antonio Petruzzella, Joanne Davila, Justin A. Lavner, Rachel Hershenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Research on gay men has largely focused on health disparities and minority stress, but scholars have called for greater attention to resilience and the positive aspects of being a sexual minority. In the broader social psychology literature, research has found that capitalization-the act of sharing personal, positive life events with others-can benefit one's wellbeing. As such, the goals of the current study were to examine the extent to which gay men capitalize on positive experiences related to their sexual orientation, perceptions of responses to those capitalization attempts, and the influence of these interactions on negative affect. We used longitudinal data from 144 cisgender gay men who lived in New York City and participated in a weekly diary study. Analyses of within-person effects indicated that having and sharing a positive experience related to one's sexual orientation were not significantly associated with changes in negative affect. However, perceiving a more supportive response to one's disclosure was significantly associated with lower than average negative affect. These findings highlight the importance of others' responses to disclosures of positive experiences related to one's sexual orientation. Interventions focused on improving sexual minorities' mental health may benefit from addressing with whom they are sharing their positive experiences and the extent to which they are likely to perceive the responses as supportive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Capitalization
  • Diary study
  • Disclosure
  • Gay
  • Negative affect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Psychology(all)


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