Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

De St. Aubin, Ed

Second Advisor

Oswald, Debra

Third Advisor

Saunders, Stephen


In many cases, having a faith life is associated with positive psychological health outcomes. However, for lesbians, the interplay between religious and sexual identities may be such that the opposite effect occurs, particularly among women who have high levels of internalized homonegativity, i.e internalized negative stigma from society about homosexuality. Previous research suggests that some religious organizations may propagate negative messages about homosexuality, and thus exacerbate the stigma that lesbians may feel about themselves due to their sexual orientation. The present study examined faith factors including views of God as loving and controlling, spirituality, religiosity, and negative faith experiences and their relationship with psychological health, taking into account level of internalized homonegativity. It was hypothesized that the faith lives of women with high levels of internalized homonegativity would be markedly different than those with low levels internalized homonegativity. Self-identified lesbian women (n=225) from the Milwaukee area were recruited as participants for this study. The results indicated that the relationship between spirituality and views of God as loving and psychological health outcomes was moderated by level of internalized negative stigma. Generally, these results indicate that those who are high in internalized homonegativity do have different faith lives and psychological health outcomes than those who are low in internalized homonegativity, but only in certain domains.