Using a daily diary methodology, we examined how social environments support or fail to support sexual identity disclosure, and associated mental and physical health outcomes. Results showed that variability in disclosure across the diary period related to greater psychological well-being and fewer physical symptoms, suggesting potential adaptive benefits to selectively disclosing. A multilevel path model indicated that perceiving autonomy support in conversations predicted more disclosure, which in turn predicted more need satisfaction, greater well-being, and fewer physical symptoms that day. Finally, mediation analyses revealed that disclosure and need satisfaction explained why perceiving autonomy support in a conversation predicted greater well-being and fewer physical symptoms. That is, perceiving autonomy support in conversations indirectly predicted greater wellness through sexual orientation disclosure, along with feeling authentic and connected in daily interactions with others. Discussion highlights the role of supportive social contexts and everyday opportunities to disclose in affecting sexual minority mental and physical health.
- coming out
- self-determination theory