Sexual Minority Quality of Life: The Indirect Effect of Public Stigma Through Self-Compassion, Authenticity, and Internalized Stigma

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Sexual minorities, or those who do not identify as straight, experience stigma that has been associated with a number of health issues and decreased quality of life. The current study expands on previous explanations of the relationship between stigma experienced by sexual minorities and quality of life by examining self-compassion and authenticity as potential mediators. We proposed and examined a mediation model in which self-compassion and authenticity would explain the relationship between stigma and quality of life, using data from a sample of 213 sexual minorities. Results of structural equation modeling revealed that there was no direct relationship between public stigma and quality of life but that public stigma and quality of life were indirectly related through internalized stigma, authenticity, and self-compassion. These findings have implications for the understanding of sexual minority experience of stigma and highlight potential points of intervention for increasing quality of life among sexual minority individuals.