On feeling torn about one’s sexuality: the effects of\ud explicit-implicit sexual orientation ambivalence

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Windsor-Shellard, Ben
  • Subject: BF

This research addressed the consequences of explicit-implicit sexual orientation (SO) ambivalence in samples of straight- and gay-identified individuals. Study 1\ud revealed worse psychological health among straight-identified individuals with greater SO ambivalence. Further, greater SO ambivalence was linked with negative\ud self-identity, an effect moderated by the direction of ambivalence. Given these negative psychological effects, the research aimed to investigate how individuals\ud resolved their ambivalence via the processing of relevant information. In Studies 1 and 2 straight-identified individuals with greater SO ambivalence took longer to\ud respond to direct questions on sexuality, an effect moderated by the direction of ambivalence. In an additional sample of straight-identified individuals, Study 3 confirmed the robustness of these effects by replicating the same pattern of findings using an established measure of systematic processing, thought\ud elaboration. Study 3 also demonstrated the impact of anti-gay attitudes on the processing of information relevant to SO.\ud In samples of gay-identified individuals, Studies 4 and 5 demonstrated that individual differences in SO ambivalence also impacted the processing of direct\ud questions on sexuality, but in ways that differed to straight-identified individuals. Individual differences in SO ambivalence also related to well-being, stigma, and\ud out-group discrimination. Additionally, for gay-identified individuals, the research considered implications of discrepant explicit-implicit evaluations towards one’s SO. Discrepant explicit-implicit evaluations of SO related to discrepant self-esteem\ud and smaller actual-ideal discrepancies. Further, a number of negative outcomes were observed when gay-identified individuals reported being positive towards\ud their SO whilst being somewhat more negative towards it on the implicit measure. Study 6 examined wider implications of SO ambivalence in a further sample\ud of straight-identified individuals. The findings showed that information relevant to SO ambivalence is communicated non-verbally, and that the experience of SO\ud ambivalence moderates the ability to detect such information.
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