Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Patrick J. Aragon

Second Advisor

Julie S. Costopoulos

Third Advisor

Kimberly N. Sloman

Fourth Advisor

Robert A. Taylor


A majority of LGBTQ+ members experience sexual minority stress on a near daily basis (Sue et al., 2007). These stressors may foster higher rates of internalized shame towards one’s sexual orientation, commonly known as internalized homophobia (Frost & Meyer, 2009; Khaddouma et al., 2015; Meyer, 2013). Internalized homophobia has been found to negatively impact both mental health outcomes and relationship satisfaction in same-sex couples (Frost & Meyer, 2009; Totenhagen et al., 2018). Higher rates of internalized shame about one’s sexuality may in turn increase relational conflict (Frost & Meyer, 2009; Mohr & Fassinger, 2006). Despite the growing amount of research on internalized homophobia in the LGBTQ+ community, little has specifically examined the effects stress may have on the way individuals handle conflict in their relationships. The primary goal of this research was to determine if there is a relationship between internalized homophobia in same-sex couples and conflict resolution styles. Participants included 89 individuals who identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community. A series of Fisher Exact tests, independent-samples t-tests, and linear regression tests were conducted to analyze the data gathered from administered questionnaires. Results demonstrated that most same-sex couples utilized more constructive conflict resolution styles than ineffective styles and that same-ex couples used significantly higher amounts of constructive conflict resolution styles than different-sex couples, t(87) = 1.88, p = .32, one-tailed. Additionally, higher rates of internalized homophobia were found to predict increased withdrawal (b = .54, t(87) = 3.60, p < .001) and compliance behaviors (b = .62, t(87) = 4.06, p < .001), whereas lower rates of internalized homophobia were found to predict increased positive problem-solving behaviors, b = -.47, t(87) = -3.19, p = .002. Lesbian women were not found to use constructive conflict resolution styles more than gay men. Findings from this study will be used to inform psychological interventions for LGBTQ+ individuals by targeting effective conflict management skills to mitigate the deleterious effects of minority stress. The results also highlight the importance of selfacceptance on conflict resolution and relationship satisfaction. Lastly, this research points to the importance of treating mental health concerns in LGBTQ+ individuals to improve communication and overall relationship satisfaction. Limitations and areas for future research were discussed.


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