Sexual minorities, stereotype threat, job satisfaction


Sexual minorities are the target of numerous negative stereotypes in the United States, and are sometimes perceived as deviant and devalued as compared to heterosexuals. Stereotype threat, the anxiety of confirming a negative stereotype about oneself or one's group, has been linked to perceived stress; and stress has been linked to low job satisfaction. Sexual minorities provide a unique test of stereotype threat theory because they may choose to conceal their minority status at work. Thus, this study also examines whether the visibility of the stigma is a necessary precursor to the experience of stereotype threat. Given the uniqueness of this population, a new and presumably more comprehensive model of stereotype threat (the Multi-Threat Framework) was also examined to ensure that stereotype threat was being adequately measured by examining every possible type of stereotype threat. Job satisfaction has been linked to many organizational outcomes such as poor performance, absenteeism, and turnover intentions; thus, it is important to examine predictors of low job satisfaction. Thus, the current study tested perceived stress as a mediator between stereotype threat and low job satisfaction in a sample of 150 sexual minorities who were employed full time. Internalized homophobia was predicted to moderate the relation between stereotype threat and perceived stress. Results indicated support for the moderated mediation model using only the traditional measure of stereotype threat; that is, stereotype threat predicted low job satisfaction through job stress. Moreover, at high levels of internalized homophobia, individuals reported high job stress, regardless of levels of experienced stereotype threat. However, those with low internalized homophobia reported high job stress only when stereotype threat was high. No differences were found with regards to degree of concealing, suggesting that the deleterious effects of high stereotype threat on job stress occurred regardless of whether participants were concealing. Additionally, the moderated mediation model was not supported when measured using the new Multi-Threat Framework, suggesting that the measure may not be measuring the same construct as the traditional measure. Finally, results suggest that stereotype threat added significant incremental validity in predicting job dissatisfaction over perceived discrimination. These findings, in total, suggest that stereotype threat is a valuable construct for predicting negative work outcomes for stigmatized individuals. Implications for improving the work lives of sexual minorities were discussed.


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Graduation Date





Fritzsche, Barbara


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program

Psychology; Industrial & Organizational








Release Date

August 2017

Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic