Tamara Bejakovich

Doctor of Clinical Psychology, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2017
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
"Presumed straight until demonstrated otherwise": The relationships between sexual identity, heteronormativity, sexual identity development and psychological well-being

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

People with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and other identities deviate from compulsory heterosexuality, experiencing many stressors, such as internalised homonegativity, identity confusion and acceptance concerns. They also report lower levels of well-being earlier in development. Past literature typically shows lower well-being at early identity development stages, compared to an integrated identity. Few studies explore the differences in well-being between the Awareness, Exploration, Commitment and Synthesis phases of development. Fewer studies have taken into account the effects of internal stressors. Ms Bejakovich explored these gaps in the literature via an online questionnaire. She found lower levels of well-being in people in the earliest phase of development (Awareness) when compared to those in the final phase (Synthesis). These differences were almost all eliminated when controlling for internal stressors, such as identity confusion, internalised homonegativity, acceptance concerns and concealment motivation, among others.

Associate Professor Ross Flett
Associate Professor Paul Merrick
Dr Simon Bennett

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