Honors College Theses

Date

2021

Major

Psychology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Amy Hackney

Abstract

LGBT people of color (POC) and White LGBT people have different experiences when it comes to accepting their sexuality and coming out experience, thus affecting their mental health and interactions with the community. The coming out process is a step towards a healthier and happier life, revealing an internal acceptance of oneself while expressing the desire to be open to others. However, LGBT people consider coming out a stressful and emotionally daunting process due to the uncertainty of responses from family, friends, and classmates (Charbonnier & Graziani, 2016). Media representations of LGBT interactions may also influence feelings about the coming out process and affect state levels of anxiety and depression. LGBT participants were randomly assigned to view two videos depicting a positive or negative interaction between LGBT POC or White LGBT people. We predicted that LGBT POC would report higher levels of state anxiety and state depression, lower comfort levels, and decreased outness than White LGBT people. Results showed that LGBT POC reported lower outness scores than White LGBT people. Results also showed that participants reported increased feelings of state anxiety and depression after watching the negative media representation of LGBT interactions; however, this finding may be due to an order effect rather than an effect of the valence of the media content. The results highlight the continued need to study the factors that affect mental well-being and the coming out process in LGBT POC and White LGBT people.

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