Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

L. Sherilyn Cormier.


Depression among lesbians is an underexplored area in the literature of the psychology of women and in depression research. A few investigators have hypothesized about the factors that place lesbians at risk for depression, and have explored those hypotheses experimentally. However, there is a large gap in the understanding of lesbians and depression. Dana Jack (1991) proposed a model of depression which holds that women who fail to represent their experiences to romantic partners are at increased risk for depression. One hundred and seventy participants were recruited to test this model (85 lesbians and 71 heterosexual women, as well as 14 bisexual women who were included in the demographics but otherwise excluded) using Jack's Silencing the Self Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory, and a demographic questionnaire. Lesbians were also asked to complete Cass' Stage Allocation Measure. An additional 11 subjects failed to complete the BDI and so were excluded from all analyses involving that test. It was found that the lesbian sample was more self-silenced than the heterosexual group, but there was no difference in the level of depression between groups. A three-way ANOVA revealed significant differences between stage of coming out and self-silencing as well as stage of coming out and depression. Several explanations were offered for the unexpected finding of increased self-silencing among lesbians. Further research is needed to better elucidate self-silencing in lesbians, as well as the experience of depression in lesbians.