Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School/College
Department of Psychology
Jennifer Waltz, PhD
Bryan Cochran, PhD
Anya Jabour, PhD
LBGT, mindfulness, self-compassion
University of Montana
Objectives: Research has found that anxiety, mood, and substance use disorders are more prevalent in LGBT individuals than heterosexual individuals (Fergusson, Horwood, & Beautrais, 1999). An explanation for these differences has been put forward by Meyer (2003), the Minority Stress Model, which is a theoretical framework that proposes that individuals who occupy a stigmatized minority status, such as LGBT individuals, may experience increased stress on the basis of stigmatization associated with this status. Results from multiple studies support the relationship between mindfulness and coping skills, life satisfaction, and positive health outcomes for LGBT individuals (Crews & Crawford, 2015; Gayner et al.; Greene & Britton, 2015; Jennings & Tan, 2014; Lyons, 2016; Toomey & Anhalt, 2016). The current study extends this work to focus on a specific aspect of mindfulness, self-compassion. Self-compassion involves extending kindness toward the self, especially during times of difficulty. The aim of the current study is to explore self-compassion as a factor that may be related to coping with the effects of minority stress.
Methods: Participants (N = 558; Mage = 22.4, SD = 5.4) were recruited for the study through online-based survey links. Participation in the study required that the respondents be at least 18 years old and identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, or with another nonheterosexual sexual identity, or a noncisgender gender identity. Participants responded to a general demographic questionnaire, the Daily Heterosexist Experiences Questionnaire, the Self-Compassion Scale, and the BBC Well Being Scale.
Results: Results indicated that facets of self-compassion (self-kindness and isolation) were significantly related to well-being. The tested moderators fell short of statistical significance (self-compassion as a moderator of the relationship between well-being and experiences of minority stress; self-coldness as a moderator of the relationship between well-being and experiences of minority stress; mindfulness as a moderator of the relationship between well-being and experiences of minority stress).
Conclusion: This is the first study of which we are aware that indicates an association between facets of self-compassion and well-being in a sample of LGBT individuals. These findings might inform clinical interventions for LGBT individuals that incorporate self-compassion.
Bowlen, Morgan Christine, "Self-Compassion as a Protective Factor Against Minority Stress for LGBT Individuals" (2020). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 11519.
© Copyright 2020 Morgan Christine Bowlen