Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Verena Graupmann, PhD
Kimberly Quinn, PhD
With growing positive representation of sexual minorities in psychological research, it is important to consider how differing identities in the LGBTQ+ community might reflect varying relationships with the self. Bisexuals might especially experience poor self-images, due to prejudice experienced both in LGBTQ+ spaces and cishet spaces (Roberts et al., 2015). There is evidence that essentializing the self has a positive relationship with emotional wellbeing (Dulaney et al., 2019). Due to the essentialist belief that an individual can only experience attraction to one gender (Roberts et al., 2015), it is possible that people with multigender attraction struggle to self-essentialize. The current study questions if those who experience bisexual attraction also have lower levels of self-essentialism, and that self-stigma could contribute to these levels. We examined orientation, self-reports of multigender attraction, self-stigma, self-essentialism, and emotional-wellbeing to explore potential relationships between these constructs. Using a mediated regression model, we measured varying levels of self-essentialism across indications of bisexual attraction. Results suggested that bisexual participants experience lower levels of self-essentialism and wellbeing compared to straight participants. We also observed a weak positive correlation between self-stigma and self-essentialism and weak negative correlations between self-stigma with wellbeing and multigender attraction. These results provide a profound lens into the wellbeing of bisexuals and uncover how orientation can influence one’s sense of self. This study also emphasizes the role self-stigma plays in one’s sense of self and offers a framework for illuminating self-stigma unique to multigender attraction.
Sharmat, Madeline Lucille, "All Bi Myself: The Relationship Between Bisexuality and Self-Essentialism" (2023). College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations. 474.