Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Michelle Vaughan (Committee Chair), Jeremiah Schumm (Committee Member), Daniela Burnworth (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Sexual minority women demonstrate higher rates of Alcohol Use Disorder, or AUD, compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Factors that potentially impact how likely a sexual minority woman is to develop an AUD during her lifetime has received limited attention in existing research. These include sexual minority stress, stress and cognitive appraisal, and hardiness theories. While many factors are suggested, and some supported, no consistent risk or protective factors have emerged. This study sought to change that by testing whether proposed risk and protective factors for stress, both in general and unique to sexual minority individuals, impacted the likelihood of the development of an AUD. Sexual minority stress was explored as a potential risk factor while hardiness was proposed as a potential protective factor. Stress appraisal was explored as both a potential risk and protective factor. Quantitative data was collected from a previously conducted study that utilized self-report surveys. Participants were recruited by distributing the online survey via email to LBGT+ organizations and listservs across North America. Data was collected from lesbian and bisexual identified women (n = 344) from a larger study on substance use in sexual minority individuals. Correlational and regressional analyses were conducted. Of the proposed risk and protective factors (hardiness, bisexual minority stress, stress appraisal, and sexual minority stress), none were found to significantly impact lifetime AUD risk (as measured by the AUDIT). Strengths, limitations, clinical implications, and research recommendations are presented in the discussion section.

Page Count


Department or Program

School of Professional Psychology

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Psychology Commons