The present study aimed to test the associations of stigma stress with negative cognitive outcomes (i.e., self-stigma content and process), affective outcomes (i.e., depressive and anxiety symptoms), and social outcomes (i.e., disconnectedness and loneliness) among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals and to explore whether self-compassion would moderate these associations.
A total of 401 LGB individuals from Hong Kong, China, provided cross-sectional questionnaire data on self-stigma content and process, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and social disconnectedness and loneliness. Hierarchical regressions and simple slope analyses were performed to analyze the relations among the variables.
Hierarchical regressions showed significant interactions between stigma stress and self-compassion in predicting self-stigma content and process, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and social disconnectedness and loneliness. Simple slope analyses further demonstrated that the positive associations of stigma stress with the six psychological outcomes were weaker among LGB individuals with high levels of self-compassion than among LGB individuals with low levels of self-compassion.
Theoretically, our findings highlighted the links between stigma stress and maladaptive psychological processes among LGB individuals, as well as the potential protective effects of self-compassion in such processes. Practically, our findings pointed to the necessity of helping LGB individuals cope with stigma stress and increase self-compassion in improving their psychological well-being.