Locus of control, internalized heterosexism, experiences of prejudice, and the psychological adjustment of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals
Within the framework of the minority stress theory, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals are conceptualized as members of a minority group defined by sexual orientation. Two of the component processes of minority stress hypothesized by Meyer (2003), internalized heterosexism and the experience of prejudicial events, were examined in the current study. Both internalized heterosexism (Szymanski, Kashubeck-West, & Meyer, 2008) and the experience of prejudicial events (Garnets, Herek, & Levy, 2003) have been associated with decreased psychological adjustment in LGB populations. Researchers have also observed a relationship between a more external locus of control and decreased psychological adjustment (Crandall & Lehman, 1977) in general population samples. However, very little research has specifically examined the impact of locus of control on the lives LGB individuals. To date, no study has examined the relationships between locus of control and the other variables in the current study (internalized heterosexism, experiences of prejudicial events, and overall psychological adjustment) as they apply to sexual minority individuals.
Based on the extant literature, it was hypothesized that internalized heterosexism, the experience of prejudicial events, and locus of control would each be significantly and positively correlated with overall psychological symptomatology. It was also hypothesized that locus of control would serve as either a moderator or as mediator in the relationships between the overall psychological adjustment of sexual minority individuals and both internalized heterosexism and the experience of prejudicial events. As predicted, results of statistical analyses indicated significant positive relationships between overall psychological adjustment and internalized heterosexism, experiences of prejudicial events, and locus of control. Results did not support the hypothesis that locus of control would have a moderating effect on the relationship between internalized heterosexism and overall psychological adjustment; however, the researcher did find support for the alternative hypothesis that locus of control would have a mediating effect on this relationship. Results of statistical analyses failed to support the hypotheses that predicted that locus of control would have either a moderating or mediating effect on the relationship between the experience of prejudicial events and overall psychological adjustment. Implications of the results for theory, research, practice, and advocacy were detailed.