Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Stigma and self-esteem across societies: avoiding blanket psychological responses to gay men experiencing homophobia

  • Karyofyllis Zervoulis (a1), Evanthia Lyons (a2) and Sokratis Dinos (a1)
Abstract
Aims and method

The relationship between homophobia (varying from actual and perceived to internalised) and measures of well-being is well documented. A study in Athens, Greece and London, UK attempted to examine this relationship in two cities with potentially different levels of homophobia. One-hundred and eighty-eight men who have sex with men (MSM) living in London and 173 MSM living in Athens completed a survey investigating their views on their sexuality, perceptions of local homophobia and their identity evaluation in terms of global self-esteem.

Results

The results confirmed a negative association between homophobia and self-esteem within each city sample. However, Athens MSM, despite perceiving significantly higher levels of local homophobia than London MSM, did not differ on most indicators of internalised homophobia and scored higher on global self-esteem than London MSM. The city context had a significant impact on the relationship.

Clinical implications

The findings are discussed in relation to the implications they pose for mental health professionals dealing with MSM from communities experiencing variable societal stigmatisation and its effect on a positive sense of self.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Stigma and self-esteem across societies: avoiding blanket psychological responses to gay men experiencing homophobia
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Stigma and self-esteem across societies: avoiding blanket psychological responses to gay men experiencing homophobia
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Stigma and self-esteem across societies: avoiding blanket psychological responses to gay men experiencing homophobia
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence to Karyofyllis Zervoulis (KaryofyllisZervoulis@bpp.com)
Footnotes
Hide All

Declaration of interests

None.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
1 Goffman, E. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Prentice-Hall, 1963.
2 Sullivan, MK. Homophobia, history, and homosexuality: trends for sexual minorities. J Hum Behav Soc Environ 2003; 8: 113.
3 Baker, P. Public Discourses of Gay Men. Routledge, 2005.
4 Dick, S. Homophobic Hate Crime: The Gay British Crime Survey 2008. Stonewall, 2008.
5 Drescher, J. The closet: psychological issues of being in and coming out. Psychiatr Times 2004; 21: 11–5.
6 Hunt, R, Jensen, J. The School Report: The Experiences of Young Gay People in Britain's Schools. Stonewall, 2007.
7 Hunter, S, Shannon, C, Knox, J, Martin, JI. Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youths and Adults: Knowledge for Human Services Practice. Sage Publications, 1998.
8 Berg, RC, Ross, MW, Weatherburn, P, Schmidt, AJ. Structural and environmental factors are associated with internalised homonegativity in men who have sex with men: findings from the European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS) in 38 countries. Soc Sci Med 2013; 78: 61–9.
9 Isay, RA. Being Homosexual: Gay Men and Their Development. Penguin Books, 1989.
10 Rosser, BRS, Ross, MW, Miner, MH, Coleman, E. The relationship between homosexuality, internalised homo-negativity, and mental health in men who have sex with men. J Homosex 2008; 55: 185203.
11 Szymanski, DM, Chung, YB, Balsam, KF. Psychological correlates of internalized homophobia in lesbians. Meas Eval Couns Dev 2001; 34: 2738.
12 Rosenberg, M. Society and the Adolescent Self-Image. University of Nebraska Press, 1965.
13 Rosenberg, M. Self-concept and psychological well-being in adolescence. In Development of the Self (ed. Leahy, R): 205–46. Academic Press, 1985.
14 Rosenberg, M, Schooler, C, Schoenbach, C. Self-esteem and adolescent problems: modeling reciprocal effects. Am Sociol Rev 1989; 54: 1004–18.
15 Baumeister, RF, Tice, DM, Hutton, DG. Self-presentational motivations and personality differences in self-esteem. J Pers 1989; 57: 547–79.
16 Diener, E, Diener, M. Cross-cultural correlates of life satisfaction and self-esteem. J Pers Soc Psychol 1995; 68: 653.
17 King, M, McKeown, E, Warner, J, Ramsay, A, Johnson, K, Cort, C, et al. Mental health and quality of life of gay men and lesbians in England and Wales: controlled, cross-sectional study. Br J Psychiatry 2003; 183: 552–8.
18 Warner, J, McKeown, E, Griffin, M, Johnson, K, Ramsay, A, Cort, C, et al. Rates and predictors of mental illness in gay men, lesbians and bisexual men and women: results from a survey based in England and Wales. Br J Psychiatry 2004; 185: 479–85.
19 Golding, J. Without Prejudice: MIND Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Mental Health Awareness Research. MIND, 1997.
20 McFarlane, L. Diagnosis: Homophobic: The Experiences of Lesbians, Gay Men and Bisexuals in Mental Health Services. PACE, 1998.
21 Kitzinger, C, Coyle, A. Introducing lesbian and gay psychology. In Lesbian and Gay Psychology: New Perspectives (eds Coyle, A, Kitzinger, C): 129. Blackwell Publishers, 2002.
22 Graupner, H. Sexuality and human rights in Europe. J Homosex 2005; 48: 107–39.
23 European Commission. Discrimination in the European Union: Perceptions, Experiences and Attitudes (Special Eurobarometer 296). European Commission, 2008.
24 European Commission. Public Opinion in the European Union (Standard Eurobarometer 66). European Commission, 2006.
25 Fygetakis, LM. Greek American lesbians: identity odysseys of honorable good girls. In Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Among Lesbians and Gay Men (ed Greene, B): 152–90. Sage Publications, 1997.
26 Phellas, CN. Zorba the ‘gay’ Anglo-Greek: negotiating cultural and sexual identities. Lesbian Gay Psychol Rev 2001; 2: 7782.
27 Phellas, CN. Cypriot gay men's accounts of negotiating cultural and sexual identity: a qualitative study. Qual Soc Rev 2005; 1: 6583.
28 Raja, S, Stokes, JP. Assessing attitudes towards lesbians and gay men: the modern homophobia scale. J Gay Lesbian Bisex Identity 1998; 3: 113–34.
29 Mayfield, W. The development of an internalized homonegativity inventory for gay men. J Homosex 2001; 41: 5376.
30 Abrams, D, Hogg, MA. Collective identity: group membership and self-conception. In Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology: Group Processes (eds Hogg, MA, Tindale, RS): 425–60. Blackwell Publishers, 2001.
31 Camp, DL, Finlay, WML, Lyons, E. Is low self-esteem an inevitable consequence of stigma? An example from women with chronic mental health problems. Soc Sci Med 2002; 55: 823–34.
32 Brady, S, Busse, WJ. The Gay Identity Questionnaire: a brief measure of homosexual identity formation. J Homosex 1994; 26: 122.
33 Alquijay, MA. The relationship among self-esteem, acculturation, and lesbian identity formation in Latina lesbians. In Ethnic and Cultural Diversity among Lesbians and Gay Men: (ed. Greene, B): 249–65. Sage Publications, 1997.
34 Cass, V. Homosexual identity formation: a theoretical model. J Homosex 1979; 4: 219–35.
35 Cass, V. Homosexual identity formation: testing a theoretical model. J Sex Res 1984; 20: 143–67.
36 Cass, V. Sexual orientation identity formation: a Western phenomenon. In Textbook of Homosexuality and Mental Health Washington (eds Cabaj, RP, Stein, TS): 227–52. American Psychiatric Press, 1996.
37 Hewson, C. Conducting research on the Internet. Psychologist 2003; 16: 290–3.
38 Mathy, RM, Schillage, M, Coleman, SM, Berquist, BE. Methodological rigor with Internet samples: new ways to reach underrepresented populations. CyberPsychology Behav 2002; 5: 253–66.
39 Buchanan, T, Smith, JL. Using the Internet for psychological research: personality testing on the World Wide Web. Br J Psychol 1999; 90: 125–44.
40 Davis, RN. Web-based administration of a personality questionnaire: comparison with traditional methods. Behav Res Methods Instruments Comput 1999; 31: 572–7.
41 Joinson, A. Social desirability, anonymity, and Internet-based questionnaires. Behav Res Methods 1999; 31: 433–8.
42 Mustanski, BS. Getting wired: exploiting the Internet for the collection of valid sexuality data. J Sex Res 2001; 38: 292301.
43 Rhodes, SD, DiClemente, RJ, Cecil, H, Hergenrather, KC, Leland, JY. Risk among men who have sex with men in the United States: a comparison of an Internet sample and a conventional outreach sample. AIDS Educ Prev 2002; 14: 4150.
44 Smokowski, PR, Galinsky, M, Harlow, K. Using technologies in groupwork part II: technology-based groups. Groupwork 2001; 13: 98115.
45 Smyth, JD, Dillman, DA, Christian, LM. Context effects in Internet surveys: new issues and evidence. In The Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology (eds Joinson, AN, McKenna, KYA, Postmes, T, et al): 429–45. Oxford University Press, 2007.
46 Liddle, BJ. Recent improvement in mental health services to lesbian and gay clients. J Homosex 1999; 37: 127–37.
47 Pixton, S. Experiencing gay affirmative therapy: an exploration of clients' views of what is helpful. Couns Psychother Res 2003; 3: 211–5.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 2056-4694
  • EISSN: 2056-4708
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Zervoulis et al. supplementary material
Supplementary Tables

 PDF (81 KB)
81 KB

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 49 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 88 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 2nd January 2018 - 18th July 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Stigma and self-esteem across societies: avoiding blanket psychological responses to gay men experiencing homophobia

  • Karyofyllis Zervoulis (a1), Evanthia Lyons (a2) and Sokratis Dinos (a1)
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *