This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Relationship of Thought Suppression and Emotion Suppression to Lesbians’ and Gay Men’s Levels of Outness: Investigating the Effects of Chronic Suppression




Carden, Chris

Type of Degree



Counseling Psychology


The purpose of this dissertation was to examine emotion regulation, thought suppression and outness in relation to the lesbian and gay communities. Also, the relationship of level of outness and reported psychological distress and inauthenticity among lesbians and gay men was examined. We also hoped to gain knowledge about possible differences in how lesbians and gay men utilize emotion suppression and thought suppression techniques. The current study includes a sample of 183 women and men currently identified as either lesbian or gay. Participants completed five assessments: the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ), the Masking Questionnaire (MQ), the Outness Inventory (OI), the White Bear Suppression Inventory (WBSI), and the Mood and Anxiety Questionnaire-Short Form (MASQ-SF). A bivariate correlation was conducted to examine the vi relationship between overall outness and emotion suppression, thought suppression, inauthenticity (masking), depressive symptoms and anxious symptoms. Also, using simple and simultaneous regression, the independent variables of emotion suppression, thought suppression, inauthenticity (masking), anxious symptoms, and depressive symptoms were used to predict the variable of overall outness. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to examine potential group differences between lesbians and gay men regarding emotion suppression and thought suppression, Results indicate that a relationship exists between overall outness and suppression of emotion and thought, inauthentic expression of emotion (masking), and depressive symptoms. Furthermore, the current study found that emotion suppression, inauthenticity (masking), and depressive symptoms were all significant predictors of degree of outness. The current study also found that gay men are more likely than lesbians to suppress emotion. No relationship was found between anxious symptoms and overall outness, and no differences were found between gay men and lesbians in the occurrence of thought suppression. Finally, results indicate that thought suppression and anxiety were not significant predictors of overall outness. Implications for these findings are discussed along with recommendations for the counseling profession.