Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Jasmine Mena

Abstract

Internalized oppression and minority/social stress are negatively correlated with various physical and mental health indicators. The research on internalized oppression for sexual minorities is deceptively vast. It appears that extensive literature is available on the subject, but a deeper analysis indicated that the existing literature is limited with respect to the diversity of the populations studied. This study endeavored to explore the relationship between internalized heteronegativity, resilience, physical/general health perceptions and mental health among sexual minorities that also identify with a racial/ethnic minority group. Participants for this study were recruited from New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island, from community centers, health centers, support programs and college/university organizations. Hierarchical multiple regression was utilized to analyze the data obtained from 99 participants. According to the results, as internalized heteronegativity increased, perceptions of physical health decreased. The relationship between internalized heteronegativity and perceptions of general physical health was modified by level of resilience. The moderation revealed that participants who reported higher levels of IHN have poorer perceptions of general health; however, resilience helps attenuate this negative relationship, but only for those who have moderate or high levels of resilience. The results suggest that providers should be encouraged to address heteronegativity and heterosexism in treatment because of its association with general health. Moreover, more research is needed to further understand the experiences of sexual minorities that identify with a racial/ethnic minority group (and other marginalized identities).

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