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Theses Doctoral

Antecedents and outcomes of sexual orientation disclosure in the workplace among lesbians

Fisher, Lauren Dyan

Lesbians continue to be an invisible, stigmatized group in the United States, and as a result, engage in sexual identity management strategies to conceal and reveal their sexual identity across several different contexts. The experiences of sexual minorities in the workplace is one domain that has garnered scholars' recent attention, especially as it relates to sexual orientation disclosure; however, the unique experiences of lesbians' management of their sexual identity remains underexplored. Furthermore, while scholars assert that there is most likely an association between lesbians' disclosure of their sexual orientation in the workplace and their intimate relationship, this remains unclear. As such, the present study investigated antecedents and outcomes of sexual orientation disclosure in the workplace among a sample of 201 self-identified lesbians in the context of their intimate relationship. As hypothesized, a multiple linear regression revealed that the higher prevalence of affirming organizational policies and practices, less perceived treatment discrimination towards sexual minorities in the workplace, lower levels of internalized homophobia, and greater relationship commitment was associated with the use of greater sexual identity management strategies that reveal a lesbian's identity in the workplace. A multivariate General Linear Model (GLM) was utilized to assess the outcomes of sexual orientation disclosure in the workplace among lesbians. As expected, the use of greater sexual identity management strategies that reveal a lesbian's identity was positively associated with higher levels of psychological well-being and relationship satisfaction. Contrary to what was predicted, the use of sexual identity management strategies was not significantly associated with job satisfaction, and possible explanations for this finding are addressed. Furthermore, two simple linear regression analyses revealed that greater relationship commitment was associated with bringing one's partner to work-related events and bringing one's partner to work-related events was associated with greater relationship satisfaction. This study improves present understanding of lesbians' experiences of sexual orientation disclosure in the workplace. The findings are useful for organizations and practitioners in their pursuits to better understand their lesbian employees and clients, and will hopefully motivate other researchers in the field who are interested in contributing to the growing literature in this area. Limitations and implications for theory, research, practice, and training are discussed.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Counseling Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Gushue, George V.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 18, 2012
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