Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Sexual minorities--Attitudes; Sexual minorities--Public opinion; Stigma (Social psychology);


Stigma, which is partially determined by social norms within specific cultures, can affect individuals in many ways such as direct negative treatment and discrimination as well as medical, social, and psychological disadvantages and problems. Lesbian women, gay men, bisexuals, and pansexuals have endured a long history of stigmatization in the United States (Herek, 1991). There is further evidence suggesting that bisexuals are especially susceptible to stigmatization, not only from heterosexuals (Herek, 2002), but from lesbian women and gay men as well (Ochs, 1996). I hypothesized that among sexual minorities men would report higher levels of perceived stigma than would women, but especially so among bisexual men and women. I hypothesized the more open and “out” a person is about their sexual orientation identity, the more they will report perceived experiences of stigma. I also sought to further examine the relationship between stigmatization and health outcomes, such as visits to healthcare professionals and risky sexual behavior. There was a negative correlation between experienced stigma and openness for male and female participants. Future research should focus on assessing experiences of stigma in sexual minorities by employing measurements designed to assess the perception of the stigmatized individual’s behavior.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Nicholas Terpstra-Schwab, Chair, Thesis Committee

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 114 pages)



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