Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Department or School/College


Committee Chair

Bryan Cochran

Commitee Members

Bryan Cochran Daniel Denis Elizabeth Hubble


sexual minority, womxn, alcohol use, minority stress


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Psychological Phenomena and Processes


Sexual minority womxn (i.e., woman-identified persons) tend to report more harmful alcohol use and more negative alcohol use outcomes than heterosexual women—a pattern not consistently observed in man-identified populations. Further, bisexually-oriented, hereafter called nonexclusively-oriented, womxn (NOW) report more negative alcohol use outcomes and meet criteria for alcohol use disorder at higher rates than both lesbians and heterosexual women (or exclusively-oriented womxn; EOW). These disparities require further investigation to explicate the antecedents and mechanisms impacting alcohol use for this at-risk population. This project examines the incremental negative effects of binegativity as a specific minority stressor and antecedent of disordered alcohol use. Given that non-exclusive orientation uniquely straddles sexual minority and heterosexual spheres, examining stressors and psychological processes that are distinctly experienced by NOW are vital steps toward informing targeted alcohol use treatment for this population.

NOW and EOW (N = 432) responded to questions on an online survey regarding general minority stress, binegative minority stress, psychological processes (i.e., positive alcohol expectancies, alcohol use motivations, queer social support) and alcohol use. NOW report higher cumulative minority stress loads than EOW, although EOW reported more heterosexist experiences than NOW. Among NOW, binegative minority stressors accounted for unique variance in alcohol use disorder symptoms, over and above general minority stressors. General minority stressors accounted for variance in alcohol use disorder symptoms among NOW, too. NOW and EOW did not differ in reported positive alcohol expectancies or queer social support; however, NOW reported drinking alcohol to cope more than EOW. Parallel mediation analyses identified that drinking to cope and queer social support partially mediated the relationship between proximal, but not distal, binegative minority stress. Expectations of rejection, a key general minority stressor, was positively related to alcohol use disorder symptoms among NOW, but not related to psychological processes.

General and binegative minority stressors are important factors related to alcohol use disorder symptoms among NOW. Additionally, psychological processes, particularly drinking alcohol to cope, and queer social support, may be important factors for health care providers to consider in the prevention of and invention on disordered alcohol use symptoms for this vulnerable group.



© Copyright 2020 Kinsie Jean Dunham