Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

John Pachankis


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer college students experience sexual assault and coercion at similar or higher rates compared to heterosexual peers, but there are little data on how LGBQ identity affects the nature or risk of these events. This study examined characteristics and correlates of unwanted sexual experiences (USEs) in a sample of 683 LGBQ undergraduates, testing whether internalized homophobia and sense of LGBTQ community predicted USEs. 39% of the sample reported some form of unwanted sexual contact during college, and 14% reported an unwanted sex act, with the lowest risk among men. 79% of participants with USEs reported male agents, and 18% reported female agents; these frequencies did not differ significantly by participant gender. Internalized homophobia was associated with increased risk of assault and coercion, and sense of LGBTQ community was negatively associated with coercion, partially mediated by internalized homophobia. This analysis demonstrated that internalized stigma and in-group social relationships are associated with college sexual victimization among LGBQ students. Interventions should target LGBTQ community-building on college campuses and the promotion of self-acceptance among LGBQ students.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access