Daily Heterosexism Experiences and Well-Being among LGB People: The Moderating Role of Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and LGB-Affirmative Support

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Research has shown that perceived discrimination, including heterosexism, is linked to poorer mental and physical health across a variety of stigmatized populations. Given the deleterious effect of discrimination on health, scholars have called attention to resilience research and the importance of understanding factors that can protect lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people from the adverse effect. To date, most research on LGB people’s resilience relied on retrospective reports of heterosexism experiences. This limits the understanding about resilience factors that help LGB people effectively cope with discrimination as it occurs on a day-to-day basis. The present study addressed this gap by using an experience sampling design to test whether internal resources (mindfulness, self-compassion) and external resources (LGB-affirmative social support) reduce the impact of daily heterosexism experience on affective and somatic well-being. A sample of 254 LGB adults completed a baseline survey that assessed resilience factors, as well as brief online surveys twice daily for 14 days that assessed heterosexism experiences and well-being, providing a total of 3,346 days of data. As anticipated, results of multilevel modeling showed that heterosexism experiences were positively related to negative affect and somatic symptoms both at the daily and person levels. Inconsistent with my hypotheses, mindfulness, self-compassion, and LGB affirmative support did not moderate the within-person associations between daily heterosexism experience and daily well-being. These factors also did not moderate the between-person association between mean heterosexism and health. They were, however, positively linked with affective well-being regardless of heterosexism experiences. These findings provide insights for practitioners to support LGB clients to thrive.