Predicting Self-Esteem, Well-Being, and Distress in a Cohort of Gay Men: The Importance of Cultural Stigma, Personal Visibility, Community Networks, and Positive Identity

Deborrah E S Frable, Camille Wortman, Jill G Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

118 Scopus citations


Homosexual and bisexual men (N = 825) enrolled in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study in Chicago completed a 90-minute self-administered questionnaire that included the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, a Well-Being Index, and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist. Participants indicated their experiences with gay stigma, their visibility as gay men, their involvement in the gay community, and their commitment to a positive gay identity. Data from this predominantly white, young, educated, and middle-class cohort are consistent with a structural model in which cultural stigma is negatively associated with positive self-perceptions. This within-group result contrasts sharply with between-group results that indicate our gay cohort was neither particularly low in global self-esteem nor high in psychological distress when compared to nonstigmatized samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-624
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1997
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Psychology

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