259398 Correlates of Perceived Stress in the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Communities: Self-esteem, Heterosexism and Depression

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 4:30 PM - 4:50 PM

A.J. Guerrero , Center for Psychosocial Health, Psychology, University of North Texas, Denton, TX
Chwee-Lye Chng, PhD , Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation, University of North Texas, Denton, TX
Sarah Fritz, BA , Department of Psychology, Center for Psychosocial Health, University of North Texas, Denton, TX
Mark Vosvick, PhD , Psychology, University of North Texas, Denton, TX
Lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB) individuals experience stress from the prejudice, discrimination and stigma of homosexuality which may lead to physical, psychological and mental disorders (Huebner et al., 2007). Researchers (Tye et al., 2006; Yakushko, 2005) report a strong association between gay-related stress and both lower self-esteem and life satisfaction for LGB, who are sexual minorities. Rejection and experiencing prejudice can also erode self-esteem in sexual minorities, often leading to greater anxiety and depression (Robin et al., 2003). Bricker et al (2009) report that internalized homophobia correlates with poor mental health outcomes, low meaning in life, and high levels of depression and perceived stress. Using the Minority Stress Model (Meyer, 1995) as a conceptual framework, we hypothesize that high levels of depression and heterosexism and low levels of self-esteem collectively account for a significant amount of variance in perceived stress among sexual minorities. Using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Center for Epidemiology Studies Depression Scale, Heterosexist Harassment, Rejection and Discrimination Scale and Perceived Stress Scale we collected self-reported data from a convenience sample of 148 self-identified LGB participants recruited from community-based organizations in Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton. Our hierarchical regression analysis, which controlled for ethnicity, age, income and sexual orientation revealed that self-esteem (=.35,t(144)=4.54, p<.001), heterosexism (=.17,t(144)=2.76, p<.05), and depression (=.22,t(144)=2.80, p<.01) accounted for 46% of variance in stress (Adj R=.46, F(10,135) =13.18, p<.001). Consistent with previous research, our study findings suggest that public health research should incorporate depression, homophobia and self-esteem when addressing perceived stress among sexual minorities.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify the negative consequences of perceived stress from lesbian, gay, bisexual individuals 2) Describe the effects of homophobia on perceived stress of lesbian, gay, bisexual individuals. 3) Discuss the interactive effects of self-esteem, homophobia, depression and perceived stress among lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals.

Keywords: Stress, Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an undergraduate (sophomore) pursuing a degree in psychology in the University of North Texas. I currently work with the Center for Psychosocial Health Research in data collection and analysis.Upon graduation I intend to apply to graduate school.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.