College of Psychology Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

1-1-2013

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PhD)

Department

Center for Psychological Studies

First Advisor

Barry Schneider

Second Advisor

Timothy Moragne

Third Advisor

Christian DeLucia

Keywords

Gay Identity Questionnaire, LGBT, older adults, sexuality

Abstract

The older lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) population is often underrepresented in the current body of research and the needs of this population are not well understood. Most research with this population has focused on wealthy, gay men, creating a deficit in regard to our understanding of the lesbian and bisexual individuals in the population. The present study was designed to add to the body of research on same-sex attracted older adults, by assessing well-being and acceptance of sexual orientation within the population. This study filled gaps in our current understanding of this population and provided new data for the Gay Identity Questionnaire (GIQ) as well as normative data for this population on several measures of well-being. Additionally, it created an image of how older same-sex attracted adults view themselves and the needs that they perceive within their population.

Same-sex attracted adults, age 50 and older, were recruited through an anonymous online survey (N = 327; Age M: 59 years old, SD = 6.96). Sexual identity development was assessed with the GIQ (Brady & Busse, 1994; Halpin & Allen, 2004), and psychological well-being was assessed via the Depression-Happiness Scale (Joseph & Lewis, 1993), Satisfaction with Life Scale (Pavot & Diener, 1993), UCLA Loneliness Scale (Russell, 1996), Rosenberg's Self Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1989), Interpersonal Support Evaluation List. Regression analysis showed that age was overall a significant predictor of all of the outcome measures, with higher age predicting better well-being scores. The GIQ was not a significant predictor in the final model. The implications of these results in regard to the usefulness of the GIQ as a research and clinical assessment tool are discussed, as well as suggestions for future research with this population. A descriptive analysis of results and participants comments is also provided, with an emphasis on different areas of need within the older LGB population.

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