The impact of mindfulness on self-stigma and affective symptoms among sexual minorities

Ka Shing Kevin CHAN, Chi Kin Donald LEUNG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Research shows that mindfulness may enable sexual minorities to resist stigma and reduce distress. Less is known, however, about the underlying processes. The present study addressed this gap in the literature by examining how mindfulness would mitigate self-stigma and, in turn, alleviate affective symptoms among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals.
Methods: A total of 401 LGB individuals from Hong Kong, China, provided cross-sectional questionnaire data on mindfulness, positive reappraisal, negative rumination, self-stigma content, self-stigma process, disempowerment, depressive symptoms, and anxiety symptoms. Structural equation modeling and Bootstrap analyses were conducted to analyze the relations among the variables.
Results: Structural equation modeling showed that mindfulness was associated with increased positive reappraisal and reduced negative rumination, which were, in turn, associated with lower levels of self-stigma content and process, respectively. Moreover, lower levels of self-stigma content and process were associated with a reduced sense of disempowerment, which was, in turn, associated with lower levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms. Bootstrap analyses further demonstrated that mindfulness had significant indirect effects on depressive and anxiety symptoms via positive reappraisal, self-stigma content, and disempowerment and via negative rumination, self-stigma process, and disempowerment.
Conclusions: Theoretically, this study revealed the potential pathways through which mindfulness could enable LGB individuals to mitigate self-stigma content and process and thereby alleviate depressive and anxiety symptoms. Practically, this study pointed to the potential utility of mindfulness training in facilitating LGB individuals to resist societal stigma, reduce internalized stigma, and lessen emotional distress. Copyright © 2021 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-219
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date04 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2021


Chan, K. K. S., & Leung, D. C. K. (2021). The impact of mindfulness on self-stigma and affective symptoms among sexual minorities. Journal of Affective Disorders, 286, 213-219. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.02.057


  • Mindfulness
  • Positive reappraisal and negative rumination
  • Self-stigma content and process
  • Disempowerment
  • Depressive and anxiety symptoms
  • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals
  • PG student publication


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