Intersectional experiences, stigma-related stress, and psychological health among Black LGB communities

Thumbnail Image


Publication or External Link





Contemporary theories of stigma-related stress (Hatzenbuehler, 2009; Krieger, 2014; Meyer, 2003) suggest that marginalized populations face chronic experiences of prejudice and discrimination due to their minority statuses—and that these stressful events undermine psychological health. Research based on this perspective typically (a) focus on one aspect of identity (e.g., sexual orientation) in isolation from other salient aspects of identity (e.g., race), (b) test temporal theories of discrimination and health using cross-sectional study designs, and (c) focus on experiences of stigmatization, overlooking the potential role of positive, identity-supportive experiences in mental health. The present study uses daily diary methods to explore the prevalence and day-to-day correlates of intersectional experiences (IEs) in a sample of 131 Black lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals. Every evening for one week, participants reported both negative and positive IEs from the last 24 hours, and completed measures of identity conflict, rumination, and affect. Across 849 combined study days, participants described 97 negative IEs (11.4% of days) and 263 positive IEs (31.0% of days). Multilevel regression was used to test concurrent and temporal relations between daily IEs and mood—as well as the mediating roles of identity conflict and rumination—at the within-person and between-person levels. Negative IEs were associated with identity conflict and negative affect at both the within- and between-person levels, and negative rumination at the within-person level only. Positive IEs predicted positive rumination and positive affect (but not identity conflict) at the within- and between-person levels. Results indicated that identity conflict mediated the concurrent association between negative IEs and negative affect (but not between positive IEs and positive affect) at both levels of analysis. Negative rumination mediated the concurrent association of negative IEs and negative affect at the within-person level (but not the between-person level). The study also produced a significant indirect path from positive IEs to positive affect, mediated through positive rumination, at both levels of analysis. No direct or indirect lag-effects were demonstrated in which IEs predicted next day outcomes. This microlongitudinal investigation is among the first to quantitatively capture the prevalence and day-to-day correlates of intersectional experiences among LGB people of color.