Category: Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgender Issues
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer individuals (i.e., LGBQ; sexual minorities) experience a number of mental health disparities compared to heterosexual individuals, including higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidality (Balsam et al., 2005; Chakraborty et al., 2001; Shilo & Mor, 2014). At the same time, sexual minority individuals are less likely to rate their mental health treatment as satisfactory (Avery, Hellman, & Sudderth, 2001) and are more likely to end treatment early (Senreich, 2009). In order to improve outcomes of LGBQ clients, assessment measures that are useful for clinical and research purposes are necessary. One relevant construct is internalized homonegativity (i.e., the internalization of societal stigma and personal discomfort with one’s non-heterosexual identity), which is consistently linked with mental health difficulties in sexual minorities (Newcomb & Mustanski, 2010; Shilo & Mor, 2014). For any measure to be clinically useful, it must relate to relevant outcomes. Thus, the current study tests the ability of the Clinical Measure of Internalized Homonegativity (CMIH), a new measure attempting to address several flaws in previous measures including poor psychometrics, construct validity, and insensitive wording, to predict depression, anxiety, and stress scores (Mayfield, 2001). The sample consisted 196 LGBQ individuals recruited through social media who completed the CMIH, along with two previous measures of internalized homonegativity and other relevant constructs. For each of the outcomes (depression, anxiety, and stress), a hierarchical linear regression was performed controlling for age, therapy history, scores on two other measures of homonegativity, and other LGBQ identity variables (e.g., outness, need for acceptance) in step one and then adding CMIH scores in step two. This allowed the authors to test how much CMIH scores predicted mental health “above and beyond” what is accounted for by other homonegativity measures and other controlled-for variables. All of the overall step one models were significant; however, in no model did either of two previous measures of homonegativity predict mental health outcomes. When added in step two, CMIH scores accounted for an additional 3% of the variance in depression scores, which was significant ΔF=4.65, pβ=.23, p < .05. This indicates that the CMIH was superior to other homonegativity measures at predicting depression. Neither the CMIH or other homonegativity measures predicted stress or anxiety, which is consistent with Newcomb and Mustanski’s (2010) finding that internalized homonegativity was more strongly related to depression than other internalizing symptoms.
Western Carolina University
Waynesville, North Carolina