From Screen to Self: The Relationship Between Television Exposure and Self-Complexity Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth

Bradley J. Bond, Brandon Miller


Little empirical research has examined the role of televised lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) characters in the identity development of LGB youth. The present study examined the relationship between mainstream and gay- and lesbian-oriented television exposure and positive and negative self-complexities using a survey of LGB adolescents (N = 546). Results revealed that exposure to mainstream television was negatively correlated with positive self-complexity, and exposure to gay- and lesbian-oriented television was negatively correlated with negative self-complexity. Self-complexity was correlated with well-being. The findings revealed that viewing LGB characters in television programs specifically designed, produced, and marketed for LGB audiences may have a positive impact on the well-being of LGB youth exposed to these televised messages.


television, identity, self-complexity, lesbian, gay, bisexual, youth

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