Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Suzanne H. Lease

Committee Member

Sharon G. Horne

Committee Member

Sara K. Bridges

Committee Member

Ronnie Priest


Although a growing number of organizations have enacted nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation as a protected category and more than 180 municipalities have forbidden employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, many lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) employees continue to lack legal recourse to employment discrimination. Furthermore, anti-discrimination policies may exist, but not be enforced in the workplace, creating a hostile working environment. Thus, it is important to examine the overall organizational climate as well as the presence or absence of specific nondiscrimination policies as they relate to LGB employees’ job satisfaction and psychological distress. Internalized homophobia has been found to be a unique predictor of psychological distress among LGB individuals. This study examined if psychological distress mediates the relationship between workplace context (defined as both the presence of LGB-affirmative policies and organizational climate) and job satisfaction of gay employees. It was hypothesized that gay employees in organizations with more extensive LGB-affirmative policies would have higher job satisfaction due to lower psychological distress, and gay employees who work under a hostile workplace climate would have higher psychological distress and therefore perceive lower job satisfaction. Additionally, the mediated relations between organizational LGB-affirmative policies as well as organizational climate and job satisfaction would be stronger in employees with higher levels of internalized homophobia. A moderated mediational model with 107 participants indicated that psychological distress was a mediator of both the LGB-affirmative policies-job satisfaction link and the organizational climate-job satisfaction link. However, the indirect effects of both workplace variables (LGB-affirmative policies and organizational climate) on job satisfaction through psychological distress were present only at low levels of internalized homophobia. The results suggest that LGB individuals who are more comfortable or accepting of their sexual identity experienced more distress in the face of workplace discrimination and subsequently experienced less job satisfaction. Implications for the findings and directions for future research are discussed.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.