Conceal, Don’t Reveal: The Impact of LGBTQ+ College Students Hiding Their Identity

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Florida Southern College
A concealable stigmatized identity (CSI) is an identity that has been stigmatized historically, but is not immediately visible to others, and therefore can be concealed (Quinn & Earnshaw, 2013). Many people with CSIs are motivated to conceal their identity to avoid stigma, but this action is significantly associated with higher levels of depression and generalized anxiety, reduced positive affect, and increased negative affect (Feinstein et al., 2020; Mohr et al., 2019). College students are under a lot of stress in general (Saleh et al., 2017) and college students with CSIs experience additional stressors which can negatively affect their college experiences. This study sought to explore the relationship between concealment factors of LGBTQ+ college students and their academic performance and college involvement. Forty-four LGBTQ+ college students completed an anonymous survey regarding their level of outness, experience with discrimination, amount of internalized stigma, academic performance, and involvement at their college, among other things. This paper describes the discovered relationships between the aforementioned variables and reinforces the implementation of measures that will reduce stigma and provide campus support to LGBTQ+ college students.
Honors Thesis Spring 2022
Identity (Psychology), Academic achievement, Sexual minorities