Term of Award

Summer 2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jessica Brooks

Committee Member 1

Jeff Klibert

Committee Member 2

Ryan Couillou


Abundant research suggests sexual minorities (SMs) are more likely than their sexual majority counterparts to experience negative health outcomes as a result of minority stress (Meyer, 2003). More specifically, because of these stressors, sexual minority individuals are at an increased risk of experiencing negative mental health outcomes (e.g., substance use disorders) (Newcomb, 2012; Meyer, 2003). Despite literature indicating the cumulative effects of minority stressors can result in the internalization of shame among sexual minorities, there is a lack of research exploring the relationship between internalized shame and maladaptive coping mechanisms, such as problematic alcohol use, within this population (Brown & Trevethan, 2010; Morrison, 1989). Moreover, there is a dearth of literature exploring whether strength-based psychological concepts (e.g., self-compassion) have the capacity to buffer the relationship between internalized shame and alcohol use. Although self-compassion interventions are conceptualized as effective strategies in reducing feelings of shame, prior studies have not explored the influence self-compassion has on the relationship between internalized shame and alcohol use. Thus, the current study aimed to fill voids in the literature by exploring the relationship between internalized shame and alcohol use and how dimensions of self-compassion may moderate this relationship. A nationwide sample of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals completed self-report measures of these constructs. As hypothesized, results indicated that internalized shame was significantly positively correlated to alcohol use, whereas self-compassion was significantly inversely related to both internalized shame and alcohol use. However, moderation analyses revealed that dimensions of self-compassion were not significant moderators on the relationship between internalized shame and alcohol use. Between group differences based on sexual orientation, sex at birth, and rurality status were further explored and discussed.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material


Available for download on Tuesday, June 08, 2027