The relationship between experiences of discrimination and mental health among lesbians and gay men: An examination of internalized homonegativity and rejection sensitivity as potential mechanisms

Brian A. Feinstein*, Marvin R. Goldfried, Joanne Davila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

194 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The current study used path analysis to examine potential mechanisms through which experiences of discrimination influence depressive and social anxiety symptoms. Method: The sample included 218 lesbians and 249 gay men (total N = 467) who participated in an online survey about minority stress and mental health. The proposed model included 2 potential mediators- internalized homonegativity and rejection sensitivity-as well as a culturally relevant antecedent to experiences of discrimination-childhood gender nonconformity. Results: Results indicated that the data fit the model well, supporting the mediating roles of internalized homonegativity and rejection sensitivity in the associations between experiences of discrimination and symptoms of depression and social anxiety. Results also supported the role of childhood gender nonconformity as an antecedent to experiences of discrimination. Although there were not significant gender differences in the overall model fit, some of the associations within the model were significantly stronger for gay men than lesbians. Conclusions: These findings suggest potential mechanisms through which experiences of discrimination influence well-being among sexual minorities, which has important implications for research and clinical practice with these populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)917-927
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Volume80
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012

Keywords

  • discrimination
  • internalized homonegativity
  • lesbian/gay
  • minority stress
  • rejection sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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