Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion

Summer 2023

Thesis Director

Wesley D. Allan

Thesis Committee Member

JungSu Oh

Thesis Committee Member

Jeffrey R. Stowell


Psychological research within the LGBTQ+ community is a relatively recent phenomenon due to the stigma that has been historically placed on this population. Sexual minority populations experience a plethora of mental health problems ranging from mood disorders to personality disorders and have a greater risk of suicide as compared to their heterosexual counterparts (Gilman et al., 2001; Meyer, 2003; Steele et al., 2017). Specifically, significant differences in social anxiety levels have been found while comparing sexual minority individuals to heterosexual individuals, which may be associated with factors such as Fear of Negative Evaluation (FNE), Fear of Positive Evaluation (FPE) and minority stress (Pachankis & Goldfried, 2006; Bostwick et al., 2010). Due to the limited current research in this aspect, the current study aimed at further exploring the relationship between these variables and the extent to which they predict social anxiety. Furthermore, it delved into the differences in levels of social anxiety reported by LGB individuals as compared to heterosexuals. The study found that fear of evaluation and minority stress are significant predictors of social anxiety in the general population, however it found no significant differences between the levels of social anxiety and fear of evaluation (negative or positive) experienced by the participants based on their sexual identity.