Identity resilience, social support and internalised homonegativity in gay men

Rusi Jaspal, Glynis M. Breakwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identity resilience, a key concept in identity process theory (IPT), refers to individuals’ capacity to cope with threats to their identity. Identity resilience is based upon four identity principles: self-efficacy; self-esteem; positive distinctiveness; and, continuity. This study investigates whether identity resilience influences how much gay men internalise homonegativity. Given the insidious effects of internalised homonegativity upon psychological well-being, it is important to identify factors affecting its management. Greater identity resilience enables deployment of strategies that may reduce internalisation of homonegativity. These strategies include rejecting the salience of negative social representations of gay men and emphasising the availability of social support. While both these strategies affect how ‘out’ a gay man chooses to be, they are also linked to the experience of everyday discrimination. We predicted identity resilience would have both a direct negative association with internalised homonegativity and an indirect negative effect mediated by higher social support, lower everyday discrimination, and, less perceived negative representations of gay men and greater ‘outness’. Survey data from 333 gay men in the UK supported this model. Fostering the development of identity resilience and its attendant coping strategies may help in managing internalisation of homonegativity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1270-1287
Number of pages18
JournalPsychology & Sexuality
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2021


  • Applied Psychology
  • Health (social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Gender Studies
  • social support
  • Identity resilience
  • gay men
  • identity process theory
  • internalised homonegativity


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