Using minority stress theory with a sample of 522 atheist people from the United States, the present study examined the associations of discrimination, proximal minority stressors (stigma consciousness, internalized antiatheism, outness as atheist), and atheist group involvement with psychological distress and self-esteem. Atheist group involvement was associated positively with outness and self-esteem, and negatively with discrimination. Structural equation modeling indicated that discrimination and stigma consciousness yielded significant positive direct relations with distress, whereas outness yielded a significant negative direct relation with distress. Relatedly, discrimination yielded a significant negative direct relation with self-esteem and outness yielded a significant positive direct relation with self-esteem. There was a significant positive unique indirect relation of antiatheist discrimination with distress via the mediating role of stigma consciousness, but no other proximal variables. Multigroup invariance testing of this model did not yield evidence that the pattern of relations of the minority stressors with mental health outcomes differed significantly between participants who were and who were not involved in an atheist group. Implications of these findings for research, practice, and advocacy are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health