Stigma, Access to Care, and Sexual Minority Women's Health
Mann, Abigail (Abbey) Kathryn
Sexual minority women experience a number of physical and mental health disparities compared to their heterosexual peers. This three-paper dissertation addresses the ways in which stigma and access to care explain outcomes in sexual minority women’s physical and mental health. The first study is a qualitative examination of sexual minority women’s experiences of stigma, particularly related to healthcare settings. The second study is a close examination of demographic predictors of access to care among sexual minority women. The third study is an analysis of the relationship between access to care and physical and mental health outcomes among sexual minority women. Findings include in-depth information about the lived experiences of stigma within and related to healthcare settings that participants reported, identification of factors that predict access to care within this population, and models explaining a significant amount of variation in physical and mental health of sexual minority women. Together, these studies shed light on the ways in which stigma explains significant differences in wellbeing via access to adequate and effective healthcare. The findings from this dissertation can inform practice related to addressing healthcare needs of sexual minority women, policy related to health of sexual minority groups, and future research on stigma, health disparities, and access to care for sexual minority women.