Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Stacey L. Williams

Committee Members

Christopher S. Dula, William T. Dalton III


Stigma is a multi-facetted construct that permeates the daily lives of sexual minorities including perceptions of self and social interactions. While research findings are ubiquitous on the negative mental health outcomes of living with a stigmatized identity (Link & Phelan, 2001), little is known about how perceived stigma may influence relationship satisfaction among sexual minorities. The present study investigated the relationship between perceived stigma and relationship satisfaction and whether psychological distress served as a mediating mechanism. Furthermore, a unique aspect of this study is its examination of multiple domains of stigma. Results indicated that sexual minorities experienced more perceived discrimination, public stigma, and self-stigma than heterosexuals as well as were less out about their sexuality. Main results did not support psychological distress as mediator but did reveal that self-stigma was significantly related to decreased relationship satisfaction among sexual minorities. Future research should focus on further elucidating the relationship between self-stigma and relationship satisfaction.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.