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Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity


Young sexual minoritized people report elevated rates of sexual violence in comparison with their heterosexual peers. This health disparity is largest among lesbian and bisexual people, and in particular bisexual women. We know little about what drives this health disparity, which is critically necessary information for developing effective sexual violence interventions. Recently, sexual stigma has been identified as an important factor related to sexual victimization among sexual minoritized people. The current article details a concurrent mixed-method study investigating what factors contribute to young lesbian and bisexual people’s vulnerability for experiencing sexual violence, and in particular the similarities and differences between these two groups. We conducted a survey with 328 participants to investigate the quantitative relationships between sexual stigma and experience of sexual violence. A subset of 25 survey participants with a history of sexual victimization also engaged in qualitative interviews about their experience of violence. Primary quantitative findings indicate that sexual stigma significantly predicts a greater likelihood of reporting an experience of sexual violence among bisexual people, and to a lesser degree, lesbian people. Qualitative findings support the development of a theoretical model that describes how intersectional experiences of marginalization across individual, interpersonal, and societal levels interact to increase vulnerability for sexual violence.






©American Psychological Association, 2021. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. The final article is available, upon publication, at: