Navigation Links
Is coming out always a good thing?
Date:6/19/2011

Coming out as lesbian, gay, or bisexual increases emotional well-being even more than earlier research has indicated. But the psychological benefits of revealing one's sexual identity -- less anger, less depression, and higher self-esteem are limited to supportive settings, shows a study published June 20 in Social Psychology and Personality Science.

The findings underscore the importance of creating workplaces and other social settings that are accepting of all people, but especially gay, lesbian or bisexual individuals, says coauthor Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.

"In general, research shows that coming out is a good thing," says Ryan. "Decades of studies have found that openness allows gay people to develop an authentic sense of themselves and to cultivate a positive minority sexual identity." By contrast, research has confirmed that being closeted poses serious psychological risks, including more troubled romantic relationships, more distress, and even increased suicidal tendencies, adds Ryan.

Despite the costs of staying in the closet and the benefits of coming out, earlier studies uncovered only slightly improved mental health from revealing a minority sexual identity. The problem, says Ryan, was that these studies lumped everyone together people who came out in supportive settings as well as those who faced stigma and discrimination.

By teasing out the effects of different contexts, this study shows that "environment plays a huge role in determining when coming out actually makes you happier," says Nicole Legate, a doctoral student at the University of Rochester, who led the study with Ryan and Netta Weinstein from the University of Essex in England. Among accepting groups, individuals experience significant psychological payback from being open about their sexual identity. But among hostile groups, the costs and stigma of identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual cancel out these benefits.

In judgmental contexts, "those who come out may actually feel no better than those who conceal," says Legate.

To measure these different effects, the researchers asked 161 lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals detailed questions about their experiences with five groups: friends, family, coworkers, school peers, and religious community. The participants were recruited from discussion boards, community and social networking web sites, and university LGB alliance listservs. They reported their answers anonymously online.

For each of the five contexts, participants indicated their level of outness, their sense of well-being, and their perceptions of acceptance or "autonomy support". For well-being, they rated the veracity of such statements as: "When I am with my family, I am lonely" or "When I am with my school peers I feel positive about myself." For autonomy support, they agreed or disagreed on a seven-point scale with assertions like: "My coworkers listen to my thoughts and ideas" or "My religious community provides me with choice and options."

Across all contexts, participants were more closeted in environments they rated as controlling and judgmental. They kept their sexual orientation hidden the most in their religious communities (69 percent), schools (50 percent), and at work (45 percent) and were somewhat more open with their families (36 percent). Friends by far represented the most accepting group for most lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. All but 13 percent of participants had come out to their friends, and they reported feeling significantly less anger and greater self-esteem with friends than with any other group.

The study, which included participants from 18 to 65 years old, found that age made no difference in who comes out. Nor did gender or sexual orientation. Instead, the key determinant for revealing a minority sexual orientation was the supportiveness of the environment.

"The vast majority of gay people are not out in every setting," says Ryan. "People are reading their environment and determining whether it is safe or not."

Disclosing in some situations, but not in others, had no effect on mental health, suggesting that such selectivity may be neither helpful nor harmful, the authors concluded.

Other results from the study suggested that gay men experienced lower well-being across measures, while lesbians enjoyed the most autonomy support. Lesbians were the most out of the three groups, bisexuals the least.


'/>"/>

Contact: Susan Hagen
susan.hagen@rochester.edu
585-276-4061
University of Rochester
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Tai chi could be key to overcoming cognitive effects of chemotherapy
2. ASCO releases studies from upcoming annual meeting
3. Neuralstem ALS trial in multiple presentations at upcoming American Academy of Neurology meeting
4. Actos Cut Risk of Prediabetes Becoming Diabetes in Study
5. Children of women who smoked during pregnancy at increased risk of becoming smokers
6. Agenda set for upcoming global conference on stem cell therapy to be held Jan. 20-21, 2011
7. Coming Soon: Smoke-Free Apartment Buildings?
8. Overweight American children and adolescents becoming fatter
9. Iron oxide nanoparticles becoming tools for brain tumor imaging and treatment
10. H1N1 Protection in Coming Seasons Flu Vaccines: FDA
11. Overcoming childhood obesity means addressing moms weight issues as well
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Is coming out always a good thing?
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... with Infinity Behavioral Health Services for professionals in the addiction treatment industry entitled: ... Audit . , Insurance companies and state and federal governments are increasingly ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... Bill Howe Plumbing’s mission is to create an ... to the community. For over 37 years, they have operated with their mission at ... in San Diego. They were chosen as the Best San Diego plumber in ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... 21, 2017 , ... Preora Diagnostics Inc. , a ... has received two prestigious recognitions that acknowledge the promise of its PWS Nanoctyology ... has been named a Top 100 Finalist for the 16th annual Chicago Innovation ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... TX (PRWEB) , ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... senior housing operators, announces the acquisition of Isle at Kingwood Assisted Living and ... Kingwood is an established retirement community with 55 assisted living apartments, 43 memory ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... FirstAlign ( http://www.firstalign.com ... the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) thinking, announced today the launch of its revamped ... to essential information that offers a more comprehensive understanding of the organization’s business ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/1/2017)... 2017 Michael Penna , President and ... opportunities for growth in his response to the July ... is seeking a buyer for eMDs. Penna,s company, Complete ... solutions Value Added Reseller and national leader in the ... "As the healthcare market continues to dictate consolidation, ...
(Date:8/29/2017)... ivWatch, LLC, the leading provider of continuous monitoring devices ... been awarded an Innovative Technology contract from Vizient, Inc., the largest ... ... the early detection of peripheral IV infiltration and extravasation events ... The Innovative Technology contract was awarded to ivWatch ...
(Date:8/25/2017)... Zed ( www.innovationzed.com ), an Irish medtech company, today announced that it ... and Bassetlaw, England . The collaboration ... part of a national NHS Test Bed programme exploring new models of ... Innovation Zed ... Connect, a snap-on accessory for disposable insulin pen users, automatically collects and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: