Development and efficacy of an online intervention targeting lesbian internalized homonegativity.

Tania Israel, Joshua A. Goodman, Krishna G. Kary, Em Matsuno, Andrew Young Choi, Yen Jui Lin, Caitlin R.S. Merrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Internalized homonegativity (IH) serves as a key predictor of mental health disparities such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse in minority stress theory (Meyer, 2003). We adapted an efficacious intervention to reduce IH in sexual minority men to address the specific experiences of cisgender lesbian women. The intervention, based on principles of the Releasing Internalized Stigma for Empowerment (RISE) model (Lin et al., 2019), contains four interactive modules that were tailored toward the specific experiences of lesbians: combatting stereotypes, identifying and rejecting negative messages, reinforcing the rejection of negative messages, and enhancing affirmation. Five-hundred-thirty-three participants, recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk, successfully completed covariate measures of self-esteem and identity concealment, RISE (n = 274) or a stress-management control condition (n = 259), and the Lesbian Internalized Homophobia Scale (LIHS) at posttest. We found that RISE participants had lower levels of personal homonegativity at posttest compared with control participants, and there were no differences in attitudes toward other lesbians. Our results suggest that IH in lesbians can be addressed, and we provide suggestions for how therapists may use RISE to augment therapy or implement specific components of the intervention into their practice with lesbians who experience IH. Public Significance Statement—We tested an internet-based psychological resource to help lesbian women address negative self-attitudes about their sexual orientation and found that participants who used this resource held more positive attitudes about their lesbian identity compared with a control group who completed stress management activities. Because negative self-attitudes are associated with mental health challenges, this resource shows promise in addressing a common source of psychological distress for lesbian women. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • internalized homonegativity
  • lesbian
  • LGBT
  • online intervention
  • sexual minority women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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