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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Experimental Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Lehman, Barbara J.

Second Advisor

Graham, James M., 1974-

Third Advisor

Smith, Aaron J.


Much of the existing research in the area of LGBTQ health demonstrates that LGBTQ individuals have worse health than non-LGBTQ individuals. The proposed reason for these disparities is minority stress. Some existing research does not support the idea that LGBTQ individuals have worse health that non-LGBTQ individuals, resulting in mixed findings in the literature. Previous works in the social identity literature suggest that identifying as a member of a social group predicts better health and greater well-being. Identifying with the LGBTQ community may act as a buffer against the negative health outcomes of experiencing minority stress for LGBTQ individuals. The current study utilized multilevel meta-analytic techniques to explore the relationship between LGBTQ community identification and four main indicators of physical health identified in the literature: substance use, sexual behavior, health status, and utilization of health services. Ninety-nine effect sizes from 32 articles were analyzed using multilevel random effects models. Stronger identification with the LGBTQ community was found to be associated with greater substance use (r = -.058, p = .037, 95% CI = -.113, -.003). No other indicators of physical health were statistically significantly associated with LGBTQ community identification. Additionally, moderators of the association between LGBTQ community identification and each of the four indicators of physical health were explored. Findings indicate that stronger identification with the LGBTQ community may not foster community resilience, especially for LGBTQ individuals with multiple marginalized identities.




LGBTQ, health outcomes, health behaviors, community identification, social identity, resilience, well-being, meta-analysis


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Sexual minorities--Health risk assessment; Sexual minorities--identity; Sexual minorities--Mental health; Social groups--Psychological aspects; Gender identity; Sex discrimination; Homophobia; Discrimination against intersex people; Transphobia




masters theses




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