Identity, Relationship Satisfaction, and Disclosure: Predicting Suicide Risk Among Sexual Minority Women

Elizabeth A. Velkoff, Lauren N. Forrest, Dorian R. Dodd, April R. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We tested the usefulness of combining the Interpersonal–Psychological Theory of Suicide and minority stress models in studying suicidality among sexual minority women. According to the Interpersonal–Psychological Theory of Suicide, perceptions of being a burden on others and feelings of failed belongingness predict suicidal ideation. In a sample of sexual minority women (n = 51), we tested first, if the interaction of perceived burdensomeness and failed belongingness predicted lifetime suicidal behavior; second, if identity affirmation was negatively related to perceived burdensomeness and if this relation was moderated by disclosure; and third, if relationship satisfaction was negatively related to failed belongingness and if this relation was moderated by acceptance concerns. The proposed interaction of perceived burdensomeness and failed belongingness predicted lifetime suicide attempts. Moreover, among sexual minority women with greater disclosure of their sexual minority identities, low identity affirmation was related to higher perceived burdensomeness. For sexual minority women with high acceptance concerns, relationship satisfaction did not relate to lower feelings of failed belongingness. These findings suggest that sexual minority related stressors moderate risk factors for suicidality—in particular, perceptions of burdensomeness and failed belongingness. We suggest clinicians and others encourage sexual minority individuals to engage in activities that promote effectiveness and interpersonal closeness. Online slides for instructors who want to use this article for teaching are available to PWQ subscribers on PWQ's website at

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-274
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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