Drawing on identity process theory, this study explores the protective and risk factors of psychological distress and self-harm in a religiously diverse sample of heterosexual and non-heterosexual students in Lebanon. A convenience sample of 209 undergraduate students participated in a cross-sectional survey and completed measures of religiosity, identity threat, psychological distress and self-harm. Results indicated that non-heterosexual participants exhibited higher levels of psychological distress, were more likely to report self-harm, and reported lower levels of religiosity than their heterosexual counterparts. It was shown that religiosity was protective against psychological distress, and that sexual orientation distress predicted self-harm. In order to reduce the risk of psychological distress and self-harm, it will be necessary to challenge stigma towards sexual minorities, to promote engagement with a broader range of social identity categories (other than just religion), and to ensure the availability of effective counselling support to all who need it.
- Psychological distress
- sexual orientation