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Concealing concealment: The mediating role of internalized heterosexism in psychological distress among lesbian, gay, and bisexual older adults


Recent population-based studies indicate that sexual minorities aged 50 and older experience significantly higher rates of psychological distress than their heterosexual age-peers. The minority stress model has been useful in explaining disparately high rates of psychological distress among younger sexual minorities.

The purpose of this study is to test a hypothesized structural relationship between two minority stressors—internalized heterosexism and concealment of sexual orientation—and consequent psychological distress among a sample of 2,349 lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults aged 50 to 95 years old. Structural equation modeling indicates that concealment has a nonsignificant direct effect on psychological distress but a significant indirect effect that is mediated through internalized heterosexism; the effect of concealment is itself concealed. This may explain divergent results regarding the role of concealment in psychological distress in other studies, and the implications will be discussed.


Hoy-Ellis, C.P. (2016). Concealing Concealment: The Mediating Role of Internalized Heterosexism in Psychological Distress among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Older Adults

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Last Updated: 12/12/23