Factors influencing social and emotional well-being among women who sleep with women: Minority stress and compartmentalization


Leadership, Management & Business


Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology

Document Type


Publication Date



As recent as 2019, individuals residing within the United States were not protected from employment termination on the basis of their sexual orientation. It is unsurprising, then, that a large percentage of non-heterosexual individuals remain ‘closeted’ about their sexual identity both at home and work, which takes a psychological and physical toll. The purpose of this study was to document perceptions, feelings, and experiences among women who have sex with women in regard to social and emotional well-being. Thirty-seven women between the ages of 20 and 64 participated in 6 focus groups held in three states in the United States. The purpose of these focus groups was to gather data about the experiences of living in a heteronormative world and the factors that might influence social and emotional well-being. Responses were transcribed and thematically coded. Results offer insights into main themes that can assist community members, health professionals, and scientists to better appraise the disparities and struggles of sexual minorities who experience minority stress and have to compartmentalize in order to feel safe at home, work, and their third places. Please refer to the Supplementary Material section to find this article's Community and Social Impact Statement.