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Psychological Sequelae of Hate Crime Victimization Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults

NCJ Number
Gregory M. Herek; J. Roy Gillis; Jeanine C. Cogan
Date Published
13 pages
This study assessed the psychological impact of hate-crime victimization based on sexual orientation and compared these psychological effects with those experienced by victims of other types of crimes.
Questionnaire packets were distributed throughout the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community in Sacramento, CA, between June 1994 and October 1995. A total of 2,259 questionnaires were suitable for analysis. The questionnaire solicited information on criminal victimizations by type of crime, psychological well-being, and world view and victimization-related beliefs. Of the 1,170 females, approximately 20 percent had experienced a bias-related criminal victimization since age 16. Of the 1,089 males, 25 percent had experienced such a victimization since age 16. One-eighth of the females and one-sixth of the males had been victimized by a bias crime within the past 5 years. Hate crimes were less likely to have been reported to the police than other types of crimes. Compared to lesbian and gay victims who had recently experienced other types of crimes, the hate-crime victims manifested significantly more symptoms of depression, anger, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress. Bisexuals did not have significantly different psychological reactions between bias and nonbias victimizations. Gay and lesbian victims of hate crimes also reported significantly more fear of crime, greater perceived vulnerability, less belief in the benevolence of people, a lower sense of control over life events, and more anxiety about sexual prejudice compared with nonbias-crime victims and nonvictims. These findings highlight the importance of attending to hate-crime survivors' distinctive psychological states in clinical settings and in public policy. 3 tables, 27 references, and 7 notes