Project Title

Anticipated Stigma and Anxiety Symptoms: Does Concealment of Sexual Orientation Moderate this Relationship?

Authors' Affiliations

Emily A. Clark, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Science, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Byron D. Brooks, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Science, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Sarah A. Job, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Science, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Stacey L. Williams, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Science, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Location

Ballroom

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 2:30 PM

Poster Number

62

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Psychology

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Stacey Williams

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Undergraduate Student

Project's Category

Psychology

Abstract Text

Sexual minorities (SM) are at particular risk for experiencing psychological distress due to the unique stressors they face based upon their identity. There is a well-established link between anticipatory stigma and increased anxiety symptoms among this population; however, this relation may vary due to other factors such as actively hiding one’s sexual orientation from others, or concealment. SM often conceal as a means for self-protection from rejection or violence, yet in doing so SM have to deal with the affective (e.g., shame, guilt), cognitive (e.g. preoccupation about hiding sexual orientation, negative self-evaluation, hypervigilance), and behavioral (e.g., social avoidance and isolation) burden of concealment that places them at increased risk for psychological distress. Concealment is documented as having a robust effect on both anticipated stigma and anxiety symptoms. Thus, the act of concealing may affect the relation between anticipated stigma and anxiety symptoms. We hypothesize that positive correlations will exist between anticipated stigma, concealment, and anxiety symptoms; and, concealment will moderate the anticipated stigma-anxiety symptoms linkage where, for individuals with greater levels of concealment, a stronger positive relationship between anticipated stigma and anxiety symptoms will exist. Participants were recruited from targeted social media advertisements and asked to complete measures of stigma, concealment, and psychopathology. Data was entered into SPSS and missing data was omitted from analyses. Pearson’s product-moment correlations and Hayes’ moderation analyses were utilized. Our sample (N=151) was predominantly White (n=127; 84.1%), identified as being a woman (n=108; 71.5%), and LGB (n=118; 78%). Concealment significantly moderated the relation between anticipated stigma and anxiety symptoms,t(147)=2.63,p=.01. Hypotheses were supported and higher concealment revealed a stronger relation between anticipated stigma and anxiety symptoms than for those with lower concealment.Our findings are limited due to using cross-sectional data and a sample predominantly comprised of White women. Interventions that help SM effectively cope with the emotional and cognitive burden of anticipated stigma and concealment may be of interest.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

Anticipated Stigma and Anxiety Symptoms: Does Concealment of Sexual Orientation Moderate this Relationship?

Ballroom

Sexual minorities (SM) are at particular risk for experiencing psychological distress due to the unique stressors they face based upon their identity. There is a well-established link between anticipatory stigma and increased anxiety symptoms among this population; however, this relation may vary due to other factors such as actively hiding one’s sexual orientation from others, or concealment. SM often conceal as a means for self-protection from rejection or violence, yet in doing so SM have to deal with the affective (e.g., shame, guilt), cognitive (e.g. preoccupation about hiding sexual orientation, negative self-evaluation, hypervigilance), and behavioral (e.g., social avoidance and isolation) burden of concealment that places them at increased risk for psychological distress. Concealment is documented as having a robust effect on both anticipated stigma and anxiety symptoms. Thus, the act of concealing may affect the relation between anticipated stigma and anxiety symptoms. We hypothesize that positive correlations will exist between anticipated stigma, concealment, and anxiety symptoms; and, concealment will moderate the anticipated stigma-anxiety symptoms linkage where, for individuals with greater levels of concealment, a stronger positive relationship between anticipated stigma and anxiety symptoms will exist. Participants were recruited from targeted social media advertisements and asked to complete measures of stigma, concealment, and psychopathology. Data was entered into SPSS and missing data was omitted from analyses. Pearson’s product-moment correlations and Hayes’ moderation analyses were utilized. Our sample (N=151) was predominantly White (n=127; 84.1%), identified as being a woman (n=108; 71.5%), and LGB (n=118; 78%). Concealment significantly moderated the relation between anticipated stigma and anxiety symptoms,t(147)=2.63,p=.01. Hypotheses were supported and higher concealment revealed a stronger relation between anticipated stigma and anxiety symptoms than for those with lower concealment.Our findings are limited due to using cross-sectional data and a sample predominantly comprised of White women. Interventions that help SM effectively cope with the emotional and cognitive burden of anticipated stigma and concealment may be of interest.