Psychology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 5-19-2020


Intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989) and minority stress (Meyer, 2003) frameworks were used as theoretical foundations to examine associations among sexual minority status (e.g., lesbian and bisexual) and race/ethnicity (e.g., White, Black, Latinx), adult sexual victimization and revictimization, mental health symptoms (i.e., depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms), and protective factors (i.e., religiosity, spirituality, social support). Participants were 673 women who identified as lesbian/mostly lesbian or bisexual who completed wave 3 of the Chicago Health and Life Experiences of Women (CHLEW) survey. Participants were racially and ethnically diverse, with slightly more women identifying as White (37.4%, n = 261), than Black (36.0%, n = 250). About one quarter of the sample identified as Latinx (23.2%, n = 162). More than one-third (38%) of the participants reported having experienced sexual assault (i.e., rape, other kind of sexual assault) after the age of 14. Results revealed that level of protective factors varied across race/ethnicity by sexual identity groups (i.e., Black lesbian, Black bisexual, Latinx lesbian, Latinx bisexual, White lesbian, White bisexual) yet mental health symptoms did not differ across groups. Black lesbian women reported the highest level of protective factors while White Lesbian women reported the lowest level of protective factors. There was no significant interaction between race/ethnicity by sexual identity groups and adult sexual victimization in the relationship of protective factors and mental health symptoms. There also were no significant interactions between race/ethnicity by sexual identity groups and adult sexual victimization in the associations to levels of social support. However, White lesbian women had higher friend, significant other, and total social support relative to other groups (Black lesbian, Black bisexual, Latinx lesbian, Latinx bisexual, White bisexual). It may be profitable to follow these women across time and conduct a trajectory analyses to further understand the temporal order of protective factors, mental health symptoms and sexual victimization experiences.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Elizabeth A. Yeater, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Kamilla Venner, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Steven P. Verney, Ph.D.

Fourth Committee Member

Tonda L. Hughes, Ph.D.




sexual minority women, LGBT, sexual victimization, revictimization, mental health, religiosity, spirituality, protective factors

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Included in

Psychology Commons