Minority Stress, Community Involvement, and Mental Health Among Bisexual Women

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Abstract

Although the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community has experienced increased visibility and acceptance in many areas of the United States, research shows that bisexual individuals continue to face negative messages about the legitimacy of their sexual orientation (Alarie & Gaudet, 2013). Using a national sample of 203 bisexual women, we ran a series of correlation, regression, and moderation models to examine (a) whether perceived binegative discrimination and internalized binegativity were correlated with self-esteem and depression and (b) whether perceived binegative discrimination and internalized bisexuality predicted self-esteem and depression. Based on findings from the regression models, we then examined whether involvement in the bisexual community reduced the impact of internalized binegativity on self-esteem and depression. A unique contribution of this study is that participants reported experiences of perceived binegative discrimination from heterosexual individuals as well as lesbians and gay men. Findings revealed that perceived binegative discrimination and internalized binegativity were statistically significantly correlated with self-esteem and depression but that only internalized binegativity predicted self-esteem and depression. Furthermore, we also found that participation in a bisexual-specific community at high levels (i.e., daily to 2 to 3 times per week) reduced the impact of internalized binegativity on depression but not self-esteem. Recommendations for future research, clinical practice, and advocacy are provided.

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