Date of Award

Winter 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Desi Hacker

Committee Member

Valerian Derlaga

Committee Member

Mona Tiernan

Committee Member

Janis Sanchez


This study investigated the relationship among disclosure, internalized homophobia, and religiosity in a lesbian population and how these three variables are related to psychological well-being in order to build upon the scant amount of empirical research on these variables in the lesbian psychological literature. A total of 679 women, 18 to 70 years old, and from all across the country were recruited via the internet to participate in a web-based survey. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Lesbian Internalized Homophobia Scale (Szymanski & Chung, 2001), the Outness Inventory (Mohr & Fassinger, 2000), the Behavioral Self-Disclosure Questionnaire (Carroll & Gilroy, 2000), the Scales of Psychological Well-Being (Ryff, 1989), the Age-Universal Intrinsic-Extrinsic (I-E) Scale, Amended (Maltby & Lewis, 1996), and the Quest Religious Orientation Scale, Amended (Maltby & Day, 1998). Results indicate that both higher verbal and behavioral disclosure correlate with psychological well-being and less internalized homophobia. Overall, no strong relationship was found between religiosity and disclosure or between religiosity and psychological well-being. Higher religiosity (intrinsic, extrinsic, and quest religious orientation) was, however, correlated with greater internalized homophobia. This study also found that psychological well-being is related to less internalized homophobia. Low internalized homophobia, high intrinsic religiosity, and low extrinsic religiosity are associated with higher levels of psychological well-being. Future research should continue to investigate the use of the Behavioral Self-Disclosure Questionnaire, should further investigate the relationship between “religious” and “spiritual” identity, and should take a more specified approach to studying religion and its relationship with psychological well-being in a lesbian population so that specific religions and religious subgroups are examined.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.