The prevalence of victimization and its effect on mental well-being among lesbian and gay people

Melanie D. Otis, William F. Skinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Research on victimization among oppressed groups such as lesbian and gay people has provided limited insight into its impact on the lives of those who are frequently targeted. This is due in part to small sample sizes and the absence of significant variables known to influence mental well-being. This analysis examines the prevalence and effects of victimization on a large sample (N = 1067) of lesbians and gay men living in a southern state. Multiple regression is used to determine the psychological consequences of victimization as measured by depression. Additional factors thought to contribute, either positively or negatively, to the effect of victimization on mental well-being, i.e., social support, self-esteem, external stress, and internalized homophobia, are also included in the analysis. Results indicate that victimization has a significant positive effect on depression for both lesbians and gay men when controlling for other variables. Self-esteem was found to be the strongest predictor of depression for the entire sample. Social support was found to have a similar effect for lesbians and gay men with partner support and having no support being significant. Gender differences were found for measures of external stress, internalized homophobia, and age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-121
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 26 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, grant no. R29-DA058321.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • General Psychology


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