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Internalized Stigma and Psychological Well-Being in Gay Men and Lesbians in Italy and Belgium

Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, University of Padova, Via Belzoni, Padova 35131, Italy
Department of Psychology and Clinics of Human Systems, University of Liège, B-33 Boulevard du Rectorat, Liege 4000, Belgium
Advisory Service of Statistic, University of Padova, Via Venezia, 12/2, edificio Psico 2, Padova 35131, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Melanie D. Otis
Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(4), 1229-1242;
Received: 29 July 2015 / Revised: 18 November 2015 / Accepted: 25 November 2015 / Published: 1 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue LGBTQ Lives in Context: The Role of Place)
PDF [357 KB, uploaded 1 December 2015]


Several studies have shown that internalized homophobia is a risk factor for mental health illness in homosexual individuals, whereas the perception of social support is a protective factor for their psychological well-being. In line with those studies, the present research has investigated the levels of internalized homophobia, anxiety, depression and social support, among two groups of gay men and lesbian individuals living in two European countries (N = 194: 86 Italian and 108 Belgian), where legislations grant different civil rights to lesbian and gay individuals (LG). The main goal of this research has been to verify the possible differences between the two groups. Results showed some significant differences in terms of observed levels of internalized homophobia, which was higher in the Belgian gay men’s group compared to the Italian one. Furthermore, path analysis emphasized the role of social support as a potential factor of mediation between internalized homophobia and mental health. View Full-Text
Keywords: sexual minority; homosexuality; mental health; social support; LGBT rights sexual minority; homosexuality; mental health; social support; LGBT rights

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Lorenzi, G.; Miscioscia, M.; Ronconi, L.; Pasquali, C.E.; Simonelli, A. Internalized Stigma and Psychological Well-Being in Gay Men and Lesbians in Italy and Belgium. Soc. Sci. 2015, 4, 1229-1242.

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