Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Amy Naugle, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Amy Damashek, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Scott Gaynor, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Tangela Roberts, Ph.D.


Acceptance and commitment therapy, gender minority, minority stress, sexual minority


Sexual and gender minority individuals (SGM) are at increased risk for psychological disorders compared to the general population. Despite this well-documented disparity in mental health outcomes, there is a stark lack of treatment studies examining SGM mental health. An accumulation of research has demonstrated that the source of this disparity is increased exposure of SGM individuals to stigma-related minority stress. It is necessary to examine psychological pathways that are impacted by stigma and the treatments that can reduce psychological distress in this population. Currently, we do not have the research evidence to answer the questions of if current evidence-based treatments are effective for SGM individuals or if it is necessary to develop population specific adapted therapies. There is a need for treatment studies that begin to answer these questions. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is one evidence-based therapy that may be effective for SGM individuals. However, no treatment study has examined the efficacy of ACT without adaptations in this population. The present study used an open clinical trial design to investigate the impact of a 4-session brief Acceptance and Commitment Therapy protocol on the reduction of depression and anxiety symptoms and increase in quality of life in sexual and gender minority individuals. Experiential avoidance, emotion dysregulation, mindfulness, and valued living were examined as potential mechanisms by which the treatment impacts outcome variables.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons