Daily experiences with heterosexism: Relations between heterosexist hassles and psychological well-being

Janet K. Swim, Kristen Johnston, Nicholas B. Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Past research examining whether experiencing heterosexism is related to negative psychological outcomes has yielded mixed results. The present research used daily diary methods to assess the effects of heterosexist daily hassles on lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals (n = 69). The results indicated unique effects of heterosexist and nonheterosexist hassles on well-being. More experiences with heterosexist hassles increased high-arousal negative affect (i.e., increased anger and anxious mood) whereas more experiences with nonheterosexist hassles more generally increased negative affect (i.e., increased daily reports of anger, and depressed mood and decreased daily reports of relaxation and positive affect). Heterosexist hassles also uniquely predicted outcomes associated with being lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Specifically, experiencing heterosexism decreased private evaluation of being lesbian, gay, or bisexual and influenced meta-perceptions of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. Lastly, being more strongly identified with LGB individuals did not buffer negative effects of heterosexism on well-being; rather, the findings suggest that greater identification with LGB individuals may increase the risk of negative psychological consequences. Implications for practice and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-629
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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