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J Health Psychol. 2016 Dec;21(12):2934-2943. Epub 2015 Jun 15.

Out and healthy: Being more "out" about a concealable stigmatized identity may boost the health benefits of social support.

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University of Connecticut, USA
University of Connecticut, USA.


This research examined whether the relationship between perceived social support and health would be moderated by level of outness for people living with different concealable stigmatized identities (mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, rape, or childhood abuse). A total of 394 people living with a concealable stigmatized identity completed a survey. Consistent with hypotheses, at high levels of outness, social support predicted better health; at low levels of outness, social support was less predictive of health. People concealing a stigmatized identity may only be able to reap the health benefits of social support if they are "out" about the stigmatized identity.


childhood abuse; concealable stigmatized identities; disclosure; domestic violence; health; mental illness; sexual assault; social support; stigma; substance abuse

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