Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


The adjustment of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) older adolescents who experience minority stress: The role of religious coping, struggle, and forgiveness

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Eric F. Dubow, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Anne K. Gordon, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Kenneth I. Pargament, Ph.D. (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Vikki Krane, Ph.D. (Committee Member)


The current study examined the victimization experiences of LGB older adolescents, their utilization of psycho-spiritual responses (i.e., religious coping and struggle, forgiveness), and the implication of these processes for their adjustment. An Internet sample of 276 LGB adolescents (18-24) completed measures of victimization, psycho-spiritual responses to victimization, and adjustment. Results indicate that victimization and psycho-spiritual responses had low to high prevalence. Victimization experiences were associated with higher sexual identity development, and religious victimization was associated with psychological distress. Religious struggle partially mediated the relation between religious victimization and psychological distress such that greater victimization was associated with greater spiritual struggles, which in turn was associated with greater psychological distress. Letting go forgiveness, religious coping, and religious struggle were significant moderators in the relation between aspects of minority stress and adjustment. These results suggest that LGB adolescents experience minority stress, that they generally do not turn to religion in response to minority stress and that they experience religious struggles that are associated with distress. Finally, letting go forgiveness is a process that might have promising implications for LGB adolescents who experience minority stress.