Date of Award

12-2004

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Scott Eidelman

Second Committee Member

Joel M. Gold

Third Committee Member

Richard M. Ryckman

Abstract

Recent advances in the study of stress and coping have identified several key psychological and social factors that may play an integral role in reactions to stigma related stress. The present study aimed to apply these factors toward stigmatized individuals' capacities to cope with instances of prejudice and discrimination. An experiment was conducted to investigate the impact of attributions to prejudice and stigma consciousness on coping strategies and psychological well-being. In general, findings indicated that both situational and individual difference variables play a powerful role in determining how stigmatized individuals perceive and cope with potentially discriminatory situations. Furthermore, certain coping strategies were related to the psychological well-being of gay men, lesbians, and bisexual men and women. The implications of these findings for the psychological health and well-being of stigmatized individuals is discussed.

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