Military Service Members’ Satisfaction With Outness: Implications for Mental Health

Wyatt R. Evans, Sebastian J. Bliss, Christina M. Rincon, Scott L. Johnston, Jagruti P. Bhakta, Jennifer A. Webb-Murphy, Peter Goldblum, Kimberly F. Balsam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This study is among the first examining lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) service members in the United States following the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy repeal. Higher levels of outness predict better mental health among general LGB populations. The military environment, like other traditional/conservative settings, may alter this relation; however, no data are available on outness among LGB service members in the United States. We examined 236 service members’ level of outness and satisfaction with outness in relation to depression and anxiety symptoms. Results revealed greater level of outness was related to higher satisfaction with outness, with each variable related to better mental health. Importantly, satisfaction fully mediated the relation between level of outness and mental health, indicating satisfaction to be a more salient predictor than level alone. Findings relevant to military policy makers and health-care providers are discussed along with recommendations for advancement of research into outness among LGB people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-154
Number of pages15
JournalArmed Forces and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • LGB outness
  • military culture
  • minority issues
  • psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Safety Research


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