Minority stress, social support, and the mental health of lesbian, gay, and bisexual Australians during the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey

Stefano Verrelli, Fiona A. White, Lauren J. Harvey, Michael R. Pulciani

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective: The current study examined the relationship between minority stress, social support, and the mental health of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) Australians during the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. Method: A sample of 1,305 Australian LGB adults completed an online survey that measured their frequency of exposure to negative and positive media messages about same-sex marriage, perceived personal support, and psychological distress during the postal survey. Results: More frequent exposure to negative media messages about same-sex marriage was associated with greater psychological distress. This association, however, was significantly weaker amongst participants who perceived greater personal support for same-sex marriage from their immediate social network. Alternatively, exposure to positive messages of public support via public and social media was not associated with psychological distress, and did not moderate the association between negative media message exposure and psychological distress. Nonetheless, more frequent exposure to public support was more strongly associated with reduced psychological distress amongst participants who perceived their immediate social network to be less supportive of same-sex marriage. Conclusions: The findings highlight how legislative processes related to the rights of stigmatised, minority populations have the potential to adversely affect their mental health. The findings also highlight the role of personal and public support as protective factors against minority stress. Within the limits of a cross-sectional study design, these findings have implications for public policy and legislative decision-making, treating clinicians of LGB clients, and LGB rights and mental health organisations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)336-346
    Number of pages11
    JournalAustralian Psychologist
    Volume54
    Issue number4
    Early online date23 Jan 2019
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

    Keywords

    • mental health
    • minority stress
    • same-sex marriage
    • sexual prejudice
    • social support
    • stigma

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