Translational Issues in Psychological Science; Washingon2.4 (Dec 2016): 351-360.
Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) are at an elevated risk of experiencing potentially traumatic events compared with the general population, particularly sexual abuse and assault (Brown & Pantalone, 2011; Rothman, Exner, & Baughman, 2011). Considering this trauma, in addition to the stress of discrimination (e.g., Marshal et al., 2015), it is perhaps unsurprising that LGB people typically report more mental health problems than heterosexual people (Mayer et al., 2008). Research further shows that institutional betrayal, or institutional failure to prevent or respond appropriately to sexual assault, may exacerbate negative outcomes for assault survivors (Smith & Freyd, 2013). The aim of this study was to determine whether LGB individuals experience higher rates of institutional betrayal compared with heterosexuals and whether this added harm may be disproportionate to individuals who are sexual minorities. In a self-report survey study of 299 undergraduates (90.3% heterosexual, 9.7% LGB-identified), LGB participants reported significantly higher rates of sexual harassment and sexual assault than heterosexual participants. LGB respondents also reported significantly higher rates of institutional betrayal, even when controlling for incidences of sexual harassment and assault. Finally, LGB participants exhibited significantly more negative psychological outcomes, including posttraumatic stress symptoms, depression, and lower collective self-esteem, related to their sexual identities. These results support prior research suggesting that LGB individuals experience more traumas and show the importance of sexual identity as a risk factor for institutional betrayal. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved) (Source: journal abstract) To read the full article, log in using your NHS OpenAthens details.