Research on structural stigma has associated the poor mental health status among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people with discriminatory institutions. Yet, less is known about the role of LGB adults’ perceptions of social attitudes toward LGB issues. Moreover, the psychological mediation framework posits LGB people’s self-acceptance as a mediator between a stigmatizing environment and individual mental health. This study investigated: (a) how perceived attitudes toward LGB issues from different social realms (society, heterosexual friends, and family members) were associated with LGB people’s mental health; and (b) whether self-acceptance mediated the effects of perceived attitudes. In this cross-sectional study, 1527 Taiwanese LGB adults (812 men; 715 women) aged between 20 and 62 years were recruited via Facebook to complete an online survey. The majority of respondents self-identified as homosexual (1129) and 399 as bisexual. The survey consisted of assessment of respondents’ mental health and questions to rate individual self-acceptance and perceptions of social attitudes. Path analysis showed that self-acceptance partially mediated the association between mental health and perceived societal acceptance of homosexuality and fully mediated the effect of perceptions of friends’ acceptance of homosexuality on mental health. Self-acceptance fully mediated the effects of perceived support for same-sex marriage from friends and families. This research yielded evidence about the interplay between perceived social stigma, self-acceptance, and mental health, particularly in the context of public debate about same-sex marriage. The effects of public discourse about sexual diversity and marriage equality on LGB adults’ mental health should be addressed by affirmative policies and practices.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)