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LGBTQ Identity and Stress

Illustrated by Victoria Lee

Developing a healthy LGBTQ identity can be a formidable task, especially in high-stigma contexts or without family support. Our lab utilizes diverse methodologies (e.g., longitudinal representative cohort studies, studies of siblings and parents, daily diary methods) to explore the role of identity tasks, like coming out, on mental health, as well as the structural, historical, and developmental determinants of these tasks. Our ultimate goal is to understand why LGBTQ populations face substantial mental health disparities and to create structural and individual interventions to reduce these disparities.

For some LGBTQ people, LGBTQ-related stress (associated with events like discrimination, or internalized heteronormativity) can be compounded by stress from within the LGBTQ community itself. For example, research has documented hegemonic norms within the gay male community surrounding race/ethnicity, masculinity, body type, age, and HIV status that might contribute to stress among community members. Our goal in this line of work is to better understand all kinds of stressors LGBTQ people face (both within and outside of the LGBTQ community) in order to ultimately inform intervention efforts with this population.











Additional Publications

  • Clark, K. A., Salway, T., McConocha, E. M., & Pachankis, J. E. (2022). How do sexual and gender minority people acquire the capability for suicide? Voices from survivors of near-fatal suicide attempts. SSM - Qualitative Research in Health, 2, 100044.
  • Wang, K., Maiolatesi, A. J., Burton, C. L., Scheer, J. R., & Pachankis, J. E. (2021). Emotion regulation in context: Expressive flexibility as a stigma coping resource for sexual minority men. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. Advance online publication.
  • Pachankis, J. E., & Hatzenbuehler, M. L. (2013). The social development of contingent self-worth in sexual minority young men: An empirical investigation of the "Best Little Boy in the World" hypothesis. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 35(2), 176-190.