A measure of hypervigilance in LGBTQ-identified individuals.

Ellen D.B. Riggle, Abigail M. Folberg, Matthew T. Richardson, Sharon S. Rostosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Hypervigilance is an individual’s heightened awareness to threat or potential threats in their surroundings, may be context specific, and may be associated with negative mental health outcomes. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ)-identified individuals may experience hypervigilance related to their stigmatized status. There are few measures of general hypervigilance and no measure of LGBTQ-specific hypervigilance. A sample of LGBTQ-identified individuals (N = 378) was recruited for an online survey. Using exploratory structural equation modeling, we examined the factor structure of 13 items related to where (locations and contextual conditions) and around whom hypervigilance occurred, and 12 items assessing hypervigilant behaviors. Three-factor models were indicated for each set of items. Individuals experienced hypervigilance around strangers, conservative/religious people, and in work settings; they reported hypervigilance as social withdrawal, identity concealment, and scanning behaviors. Individuals who experienced one type of hypervigilant behavior also tended to report other types of hypervigilant behavior. Some group differences by gender identity, sexual identity, and racial/ethnic identity were found; specifically people of color and transgender and nonbinary (TNB) individuals tended to experience more hypervigilance than White and non-TNB individuals, respectively. Expected associations were found between the proposed factors and fear of negative evaluation, depressive and posttraumatic stress symptoms, and satisfaction with life. The suggested factor structure and scales will assist researchers and practitioners in identifying possible LGBTQ-specific hypervigilance and points of intervention.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStigma and Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association


  • LGBT
  • hypervigilance
  • measurement
  • mental health
  • minority stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health Policy


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