Title page for ETD etd-08212003-142701

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Kephart, Christina Marie
Author's Email Address ckephart@vt.edu
URN etd-08212003-142701
Title Identity Development and Acculturation Processes in Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth: Associations with Depressive and Suicidal Symptoms
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jones, Russell T. Committee Chair
Clum, George A. Jr. Committee Member
Finney, Jack W. Committee Member
Johnson, Scott W. Committee Member
Ollendick, Thomas H. Committee Member
  • depression
  • identity
  • acculturation
  • lesbian
  • gay
Date of Defense 2003-08-18
Availability unrestricted
Previous studies have suggested that gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals may be at increased risk for symptoms of depression and suicidality, but little empirical investigation to date has attempted to make clearer the stressors or factors that are associated with the development of symptoms. This study explores the roles of identity development as a sexual minority individual and the acculturative process in terms of the impact of interaction with heterosexual culture as predictors of depressive and suicidal symptoms. In addition, other psychosocial variable that have been previously associated with suicidality in other minority groups were tested as mediators between gay cultural identity and depressive and suicidal symptoms. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual college students were recruited for participation through social groups specific to this population.

Results indicated that gay cultural identity was associated with depressive and suicidal symptoms. Furthermore, social support was shown to mediate the relationship between gay cultural identity and symptoms. Both frequency of social contact and interpersonal quality of social support were included in the analyses, with the latter showing a stronger relationship to the outcome variables. These findings emphasize the importance of research investigating points of intervention and organized efforts to provide social support to gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth that may be most effective in the prevention of depressive and suicidal symptoms.

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