Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Mark Whisman

Second Advisor

Joanna Arch

Third Advisor

Soo Rhee

Fourth Advisor

Angela Bryan

Fifth Advisor

Glenda Russell


Overall, this study was designed to explore differences in the prevalence of and service utilization for mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders between lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) and heterosexual individuals, as well as to examine the association between romantic relationship quality and psychopathology among LGB individuals. For Study 1, we compared the prevalence of meeting DSM-IV criteria for a mood, anxiety, substance use, comorbid, and any disorder between LGB and heterosexual individuals using data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R; N = 6,404). We found that compared to heterosexual individuals, there was a higher prevalence of mood, anxiety, and any disorder for LGB individuals. Using the same sample, we also investigated potential differences in treatment utilization between LGB and heterosexual individuals meeting criteria for psychiatric disorders. We found that compared to heterosexual individuals, LGB individuals, in general, were more likely to seek treatment from complementary alternative medicine, non-psychiatrist mental health providers, and any provider (and other broad provider categories). Differences in treatment utilization varied somewhat by disorder type. For Study 2, we evaluated whether poor relationship quality was associated with psychopathology among LGB individuals, and evaluated potential moderators of these associations, including minority stress and social support. Data were obtained from an online sample of LGB individuals in romantic relationships (N = 292). We found that relationship quality was significantly and negatively associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, alcohol use, and substance use. We also found that, in general, the associations between relationship quality and psychopathology symptoms were moderated by experiences of discrimination, perceived family support, and community connectedness. Moderation results varied somewhat for different mental health symptoms. These findings support the need for continued investigation of the associations between relationship quality and mental health among LGB individuals. Taken together, the findings from these two studies suggest that continued research is needed on the prevalence, risk factors, and treatment of mental health problems in LGB individuals, and suggest that relationship quality may be an important correlate of mental health in LGB individuals.