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IDENTITY SUPPORT, IDENTITY DEVALUATION, AND WELL-BEING AMONG LESBIANS

Authors


  • Kristin Beals, School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles; Letitia Anne Peplau, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles.

  • An Individual National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Mental Health awarded to Kristin Beals, Award 1 F31 Mh12836-01A1, supported this research. Thanks to Shelly Gable and Sally Dickerson for helpful advice about daily experience methods and the use of multilevel modeling.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Kristin Beals, UCLA, School of Public Affairs, 3250 Public Policy Building, Box 951656, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656. E-mail: kbeals@ucla.edu

Abstract

This research tested predictions about the association of identity support and identity devaluation with psychological well-being (self-esteem, life satisfaction, and depression). Lesbian women completed baseline surveys (N= 42), then provided daily experience reports during a 2-week period (n= 38), and completed a 2-month follow-up survey (n= 34). Several types of evidence consistently demonstrated the importance of identity support for well-being. Lesbians who reported more identity support scored higher on measures of well-being at initial assessment, during the daily phase of the study, and at the follow-up. Comparable results were found for the negative association between identity devaluation and well-being. Identity measures proved to be significant predictors of lesbians' well-being even after controlling for other types of support and social stress. Both identity support and identity devaluation contributed independently to the prediction of daily self-esteem and life satisfaction. Strengths and limitations of this study are discussed.

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