Religiosity, Internalized Homophobia, and Mental Health Outcomes in LGB Individuals in the Southeast

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Gildea, Emily
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Internalized homophobia refers to self-loathing by LGB individuals who have internalized society’s negative homophobic attitudes (Meyer & Dean, 1998). Research has demonstrated a positive correlation between internalized homophobia and poor mental health outcomes, such as depression and anxiety (Frost & Meyer, 2009). These mental health problems are related to experienced homophobia, not homosexuality. In other research, religiosity is positively related to homophobia (Jäckle & Wenzelburger, 2014); the southeast is the most religious region of the United States (Pew Research Center, 2016). The present study examined the relations among religiosity, internalized homophobia/homophobia, and mental health outcomes in 279 LGB and heterosexual individuals. Participants completed an online survey that assessed their religiosity, internalized homophobia/homophobia, psychological well-being, and evangelism. Religiosity was positively related to both homophobia and psychological well-being in heterosexual individuals, but not in LGB individuals. There were no differences in either group based on region of the country where participants lived.