Campus Climate as Minority Stress: Then and Now

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Dramatic shift s in U.S. culture surrounding the acceptance of sexual minorities have occurred within the last five years. Yet, sexual minorities experience minority stress associated with a host of negative life outcomes. We focus on two studies (one conducted in 2011/12 and one in 2015) on university campus climate as a source of minority stress. Gauging social climate like a temperature thermometer (0=cool/rejecting-100=warm/accepting), and by attitudes of straight individuals, results of Study 1 showed a moderate campus climate for LGB identity (M = 65) with no variation by self-identification among 1101 straight and 133 sexual minority participants. Attitudes of straight participants predicted minority stress (concealment, anticipated discrimination, perceived public stigma) of sexual minorities. Study 2 was entitled “Campus PRIDE” (Perceptions Related to Identity and Diversity in the Environment). Results from 697 straight and 206 sexual minorities, showed climate varied depending on identity of focus and by self-identification as sexual minority (all t tests p<.05). Findings are discussed in light of methodological differences, backlash to advances in rights, intersections of sexual identity, gender, and race, and the process of getting “buy-in” from university administrators to conduct a university-wide climate survey.


Minneapolis, MN