Author ORCID Identifier

0000-0002-0824-4830

Date of Award

8-11-2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dominic Parrott

Second Advisor

Sierra Carter

Third Advisor

Ethan Mereish

Fourth Advisor

Kevin Swartout

Fifth Advisor

Eric Wright

Abstract

Intimate partner violence among sexual minority individuals is a unique public health disparity in frequency and severity compared to heterosexual individuals. Existent research suggests experiencing sexual minority stress (SMS) is associated with negative health outcomes for individuals, including intimate partner violence. Research to date has not yet established the causal association between SMS and aggression perpetration nor its underlying mechanisms. Utilizing the Psychological Mediation Framework and the General Aggression Model, the current investigation sought to assess the proximal and temporal associations between induced state SMS and cyber aggression perpetration via an online experimental study. Furthermore, the investigation sought to evaluate two putative mediating mechanisms (negative affect, cognitive rumination) of SMS-related aggression. A sample of 110 cisgender, sexual minority identifying men and women (52% women) were recruited online via a research panel. Participants were randomized to a control or experimental condition in which they had general or sexual stigma stress induced, respectively. Participants then completed an online cyber aggression task. Self-reported state negative affect and cognitive rumination were assessed at various timepoints during the stress induction task and post aggression task. Participants also completed self-report measures of relevant constructs (i.e., SMS experiences, state affect, state cognition rumination, dispositional aggression, and intimate partner violence perpetration). Findings suggest a lack of differentiation in induced stress between the two study conditions as well as no differences between the study groups in cyber aggression perpetration. Furthermore, analyses failed to detect any mediating effects of negative affect and rumination in the association between SMS and aggression perpetration nor any association between cyber aggression perpetration and intimate partner violence perpetration. The limitations of the study’s online methodology did not allow conclusions to be drawn for the research aims and emphasize the continued need for further research into this important area of public health.

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