Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

James F. Paulson

Committee Member

Robert J. Cramer

Committee Member

James M. Henson


Sexual minority individuals (i.e., those who identify as a sexual orientation other than heterosexual) have consistently been linked to an increased risk of negative mental health outcomes. The process of coping can impact the content and severity of said outcomes, and one’s ability to cope is often predicted by the concept known as coping self-efficacy (i.e., one’s belief in his or her ability to cope). This study aimed to assess the effects of sexual orientation, coping self-efficacy, and their interactions on mental health by looking at different aspects of coping self-efficacy as potential moderating variables. Self-perceptions of coping skills were assessed across three domains; problem-solving, stopping of unpleasant thoughts and emotions, and garnering social support. Mental health variables were evaluated by using measures assessing depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts/behaviors (STBs), and alcohol use. Archival data were collected via a large single time point survey. Data were gathered from a community sample consisting of members of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), an organization dedicated to protecting the sexual freedom and privacy rights of consenting adults. Hypotheses were tested through t-tests, analyses of variance, and general linear modeling. Results evidenced an increased prevalence of mental health symptoms among sexual minority individuals when compared to heterosexual counterparts.


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