Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Minority stress, Anticipated Stigma, Lesbian, Bisexual, Alcohol, Social Anxiety

Major Advisor

Seth Kalichman

Associate Advisor

Lisa Eaton

Associate Advisor

Diane Quinn

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Sexual minority women have disproportionately higher rates of social anxiety and alcohol use problems compared with heterosexual women, with further evidence that this disparity is greater among bisexual women relative to lesbian women. The predominant theory for explaining these health disparities is Minority Stress theory (Meyer, 2003), although research to understand bisexual health relative to lesbian health is scarce. The current study focused on anticipated stigma as a primary explanatory mechanism in a sample of 230 lesbian and bisexual women. After completing a baseline questionnaire, participants next filled out daily text message surveys for 14 days to assess social anxiety and alcohol use. Results showed that anticipated stigma fully mediated the relationship between sexual orientation and social anxiety, but anticipated stigma did not predict alcohol use. An unexpected finding was that lesbian women were consuming more alcohol than bisexual women, inconsistent with past literature. Lastly, through utilizing multilevel structural equation modelling (MSEM), higher social anxiety predicted more alcohol consumption on a day (within-person) level, but did not significantly predict alcohol consumption on an aggregate (between-person) level. A second model revealed that anticipated stigma was a better mediator between sexual orientation and social anxiety than enacted stigma and outness when all three minority stressors were entered into the same model. Overall, these findings help us further understand the relationship between social anxiety and alcohol use among lesbian and bisexual women.