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J Lesbian Stud. 2012;16(1):30-44. doi: 10.1080/10894160.2011.557641.

Still stressful after all these years: a review of lesbians' and bisexual women's minority stress.

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Psychology, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23520-0267, USA.


This article reviews the conceptualization of, and empirical literature on, lesbians' and bisexual women's sexual minority stress. In much of the early research, the experiences of sexual minority women and men were considered together (or women's experiences were inferred from men's), obscuring important differences. There is empirical and theoretical justification to consider the experiences of women and men separately and to develop and evaluate comprehensive models of sexual minority stress for women. Existing conceptualizations of sexual minority stress that include assessment of discrimination, victimization, harassment, concealment, internalized homonegativity may be applied, and perhaps adapted, to facilitate understanding of the unique stressors associated with women's sexual minority status. Future research must include mediators of the relationship between stressors and outcomes such as individual (e.g., coping and resilience) and group (e.g., social support, identification with a sexual minority community) resources. It is also essential to understand what factors may buffer the deleterious effects of these stressors.

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