Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Robin J. Lewis

Committee Member

Desideria S. Hacker

Committee Member

Barbara A. Winstead

Committee Member

Valerian J. Derlega

Committee Member

Alex Dryden


This study examined to what extent the centrality of sexual and racial/ethnic identities were associated with rejection sensitivity in young adult sexual minority women. The relationships between sexual identity centrality and current alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, and sexual minority stress outcomes were also examined with race as a potential moderator. African American/Black and Non-Hispanic White sexual minority women 18-25 years old (N = 676) were recruited through online social media platforms, community organizations, and email advertisements. Participants completed an online survey that included measures of three types of rejection sensitivity (interpersonal, race-based, and sexual orientation-based), sexual minority stress, alcohol use and related problems, and identity centrality (both sexual identity and racial identity). Data were collected in the United States in March to July of 2017. Results indicate that sexual identity centrality and racial identity centrality are associated with personal anxiety and expectations of discrimination among young, racially diverse LB women. Lesbian women reported significantly more sexual identity centrality than bisexual women, and White lesbian women reported the greatest amount of anxiety and expectations of discrimination based on their sexual minority status compared to all other groups. African-American/Black women reported less hazardous and risky drinking behaviors than White women. These findings demonstrate that multiple minority statuses, and the importance of those identities to young sexual minority women, impact the amount of anxiety they experience with regards to how they will be treated or accepted by others. The findings also highlight the importance of diversity considerations among young lesbian and bisexual women with regards to health and psychosocial outcomes.


The VIRGINIA CONSORTIUM PROGRAM IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY is a joint program of Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University.


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