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J Aggress Maltreat Trauma. 2013;22(5). doi: 10.1080/10926771.2013.785455.

Prejudice Events and Traumatic Stress among Heterosexuals and Lesbians, Gay Men and Bisexuals.

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School of Social Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
Silver School of Social Work, New York University.
Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.
The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law.


This mixed-methods study examined associations between prejudice events and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among 382 lesbians, gays, and bisexuals (LGB) and 126 heterosexuals. Using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, we assessed PTSD with a relaxed Criterion A1; that is, we allowed events that did not involve threat to life or physical integrity to also qualify as traumatic. We first assessed whether exposure to prejudice-related qualifying events differed with respect to participants' sexual orientation and race. We found that White LGBs were more likely than White heterosexuals to encounter a prejudice-related qualifying event, and among LGBs, Black and Latino LGBs were no more likely than White LGBs to experience this type of event. We then used qualitative analysis of participants' brief narratives to examine prejudice events that precipitated Relaxed Criterion A1 PTSD among 8 participants. Two themes emerged: (a) the need to make major changes and (b) compromised sense of safety and security following exposure to the prejudice event.


Criterion A1; PTSD; and bisexual; discrimination; gay; lesbian; prejudice

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