Outness amplifies the negative effect of gay related rejection in rural, but not urban sexual minority men

Zachary Giano, Joseph M. Currin, Denna L. Wheeler, Randolph D. Hubach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Sexual minority men have consistently shown to be at-risk for adverse mental health outcomes due to minority stress, yet studies show some men successfully navigate these barriers. What is less known are the environmental and social/emotional factors to which minority stress is amplified (or attenuated). We comparatively investigate rural versus urban sexual minority men and how levels of ‘outness’ (the degree to which an individual discloses their sexual identity to others around them) interacts with gay-related rejection anxieties (a specific type of minority stress). Results broadly show that 1. higher levels of gay-related rejection are statistically associated with higher levels of loneliness, and 2. outness moderated this link in rural, but not urban men. In other words, higher levels of outness amplified the deleterious effects of gay-related rejection in the rural sample only. Although previous research shows mixed results in regards to how coming out affects the mental health of sexual minority men, our stratified results show that rural men may be at a higher risk for deleterious mental health with higher levels of outness. Implications from this study bolster the mental health field, particular mental health practitioners working with rural sexual minority men and the aftermath of coming out.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-254
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology and Sexuality
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Rural
  • anxiety
  • outness
  • rejection
  • urban


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