Sexual minority individuals may be exposed to unique social stressors that include anticipation of harassment and concealment of their sexual identity, with increased risk for psychological problems as a result of such stressors. The present study identified coping behaviors of gay men and lesbian women that mediate these associations between sexual minority stressors and negative psychological outcomes. Participants included 128 gay men and 123 lesbian women who completed online surveys to report two social stressors (harassment, concealment), three psychological outcomes (health concerns, self-esteem, posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] symptoms), and seven possible coping behaviors (exercise, sleep, alcohol use, tobacco use, religiosity, expressed anger, repressed anger). For both gay men and lesbian women, repressed anger was the only coping behavior that mediated associations between sexual minority stressors (harassment and concealment for men, concealment for women) and negative psychological outcomes of health concerns, poor self-esteem, and PTSD. Results from the study suggest that responding to sexual minority stressors with repressed anger may be a “maladaptive” coping behavior that increases the risk of poor psychological outcomes. Counselors could guide sexual minority individuals to develop more “emotional openness” while taking action to reduce the prevalence of sexual minority stressors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health