Loyola University Maryland

Emerging Scholars

Erin Spahr, Heather Z. Lyons, Ph.D., Martin F. Sherman, Ph.D.,

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Intrinsic and Extrinsic Religiosity as Predictors of Sexual Identity Conflict for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young Adults

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Researchers have widely assumed that a conflict may exist for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals attempting to integrate their religious and sexual identities. However, research is needed to help specify how variations in one’s religious orientation might predict the level of sexual identity conflict experienced by LGB individuals. In the present study it was hypothesized that LGB participants who experienced higher levels of extrinsic religiosity would also experience higher levels of sexual identity conflict than LGB participants who reported lower levels of extrinsic religiosity. It was also hypothesized that intrinsic religiosity would act as a moderator for the predicted relation between extrinsic religiosity and sexual identity conflict; such that when intrinsic religiosity is high the relation between extrinsic religiosity and sexual identity conflict would be weakened. Participants in the final sample included 664 LGB respondents ranging in age from 18-29, who completed a survey over the internet.

As predicted, there was a small, but significant positive relation between extrinsic religious orientation and sexual identity conflict. Intrinsic religious orientation was also found to be positively correlated with extrinsic religious orientation. Intrinsic religiosity and sexual identity conflict were also positively related. The prediction that intrinsic religious orientation would act as a moderator of the relation between extrinsic religious orientation and sexual identity conflict was not supported. The present study provides initial support for the association between extrinsic religious orientation and sexual identity conflict for LGB young adults. However, more research is needed to determine the variables that contribute to this association.