By Jeffrey Hartinger
Originally published on Advocate.com June 21 2011 1:50 PM ET
A new study by the University of Rochester has highlighted the personal rewards for LGBT people in coming out as well as the link between their happiness and community support.
The research found that support is one of the most important elements in the coming-out process. People who came out in hostile or judgmental environments did not enjoy the same benefits as those in supportive ones.
Over 160 LGBT people, aged 18 to 65, were involved in the study. Those who were open about their sexuality in a plethora of accepting environments, including their religious communities, reaped psychological rewards in comparison to those who hid or did not reveal their sexual orientation.
Although accepting environments are becoming the norm, the research also found that a vast majority of participants were not out in every group with which they interacted, which included friends, family, coworkers, school peers, and their religious community.
Eighty-seven percent reported that friends were the most accepting, with participants noting a boost in self-esteem and less anger after disclosing their orientation.
The study was published Monday in Social Psychology and Personality Science.