Religious Affiliation, Internalized Homophobia, and Mental Health in Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals

By David M. Barnes, Ilan H. Meyer
October 2012

Latino and Black lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) men and women are more religious than their White counterparts.  This greater religiosity was true by every measure, including likelihood to attend religious services, engage in prayer, and identify a religious affiliation. Attending religious services in non-affirming settings compared to attending in affirming settings or not attending at all was linked in the study with higher levels of internalized homophobia.

Both racial and ethnic minority LGBs were more likely than White LGBs to attend services in non-affirming  settings and this difference explained their higher levels, compared with Whites, of internalized homophobia (although only Latinos had statistically significantly higher levels of internalized homophobia than Whites). Past research has shown that LGB Americans as a whole are less religious than heterosexuals, a pattern also seen in this study. By contrast, however, LGBs in this study reported higher levels of spirituality than participants in general population samples.

Article published in a forthcoming issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

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