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Coming out. Is it good for you? August 30, 2009

Posted by Geekgirl in psychology, social.
Tags: ,

It’s not news that if a straight person knows someone who is gay, they are much more likely to support LGBT folks. That’s what happens when we become human to one another.

But what about the LGBT individual and coming out? Do they feel better after coming out? Or do they feel better if they hide their sexual orientation? Let’s find out.

Stigma Management and Well-Being: The Role of Perceived Social Support, Emotional Processing, and Suppression

Kristin P. Beals
California State University, Fullerton, kbeals@fullerton.edu
Letitia Anne Peplau
University of California, Los Angeles
Shelly L. Gable
University of California, Santa Barbara

Lesbians and gay men frequently make decisions about concealing or disclosing their stigmatized identity. Past research has found that disclosing one’s sexual orientation is often beneficial. This study aimed to answer the question, “why?”.

Specifically, this study tested a model in which perceived social support, emotional processing, and suppression mediate the association between disclosure and well-being. To capture disclosure decisions in real time, participants completed a 2-week daily diary study and a 2-month follow-up survey.

As expected, participants generally reported greater well-being on days when they disclosed (vs. concealed) their sexual orientation. Perceived social support was a consistent predictor of well-being and mediator of the association between disclosure and well-being. Although less consistent across time and measures, emotional processing and to a lesser extent suppression were also significantly associated with disclosure and well-being. This research advances the scientific understanding of concealable stigmatized identities and their impact on individual well-being.

Key Words: stigma • disclosure • social support • emotional processing • suppression

This version was published on July 1, 2009

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 35, No. 7, 867-879 (2009)
DOI: 10.1177/0146167209334783



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