Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Douglas Clark Strohmer

Committee Member

Sharon Horne

Committee Member

Yonghong Xu

Committee Member

Sara Bridges


While grief related to the loss of an intimate partner is expected to be an emotionally distressing experience for anyone, for those who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual (GLB), grief associated with the loss of an intimate partner may produce additional stress that complicates the grief process. Based on sexual minority stress theory and the current research on the construct of grief, it was hypothesized that those GLB-identifying individuals who experience higher levels of minority stress (as measured by the minority stress variables of discrimination, harassment, and rejection experiences, internalized homonegativity, and degree of outness) would also experience greater dysfunction and increased levels of grief-specific symptomatology (assessed by the outcome scores on the Inventory of Complicated Grief) following the death of the intimate partner. This effect would occur outside of the potential effects of the amount of time since the loss, the nature of the loss, the age of the surviving partner, and if social support was sought. This study was conducted via an anonymous online survey. Participants were 54% male, 87% Caucasian, and has a median age range of 54-55. Hierarchical multiple regression (2 steps) was utilized to analyze the data. Sexual minority stress has a significant relationship with the experience of grief for GLB individuals who have experienced the loss of a committed partner. Sexual minority stress demonstrated significant additional influence above the control variables (ΔR²= .13). Further analysis revealed the relative influence of each individual variable, with years since loss emerging as the variable with the most unique influence in the explanation of variance in grief in both steps of the regression model. Limitations, clinical implications, and 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.