Date of Award

Summer 2009

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

de St. Aubin, Ed.

Second Advisor

Franzoi, Stephen

Third Advisor

Siderits, Mary Anne


Personal ideology is a component of personality that guides an individual's understanding of where value lies in life. Research on personal ideology in heterosexual samples has supported the assertion that ideological belief exerts an enormous impact on an individual's life in terms of the contributions it makes to individual value systems (Carlson & Brincka, 1987; de St. Aubin, 1996; Stone, 1991), daily thinking and behavior (Carlson & Levy, 1970), decision making (Williams, 1984), and problem solving (Schultz, Stone & Christie, 1992, 1997). Less is know about how personal ideology manifests in the identities of individuals of minority sexual orientation. Specifically, information on lesbians and ideology is a sparsely researched domain. Due to this group's position as a stigmatized minority, it is likely that a lesbian's personal ideology plays a significant role in how she adapts and functions within a society grounded in distinctly heterosexual norms. Maintaining an ideological perspective that adopts a conservative stance on societal norms and values conformity would conflict with a sexual identity that is outside of those norms. This could create an incongruency that could potentially manifest in high degrees of internal conflict. Lesbians who take this ideological perspective may not only continually receive, but also internalize, a message of being inherently wrong. Alternatively, maintaining an ideological perspective that adopts a liberal stance on societal norms and places less value on conformity may be beneficial to individuals with a sexual identity positioned outside of those norms. Consequently, it seems important to understand the role ideology plays in daily functioning in order to foster health and wellness in the lesbian community...



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