Patient Sexual Orientation Disclosure to Medical Providers

The Problem

Research reports that members of the LGBTQ population can be hesitant to disclosure their sexual orientation or behaviors. Reasons for disclosure avoidance include the potentially faulty perception that the information is not relevant to their health care, fear of negative provider reaction, fear of discrimination, and being unsure of how to share that information. Additionally, current theories of disclosure focus on disclosure of stigmatized information and nonvisible health information; additionally these theories define the disclosure recipient as a relationally close other (rather than a medical provider). We seek to determine if and how current theories are relevant to the disclosure of sexual orientation.


This is the first stage of a larger, ongoing project with Indiana Minority Health Coalition (IMHC). The research objectives for this stage are:

  1. To examine young adults’ experiences with disclosure of sexual behavior/orientation to healthcare providers; and
  2. To examine to the congruence of disclosure of sexual behavior/orientation to healthcare providers with existing theories of disclosure.


The researchers will conduct interviews with approximately 20 members of the Indiana LGBTQ community.

Potential Impact

This project will contribute to a larger research project with IMHC. The larger project will help draw attention to the needs of the LGBTQ community as a minority health group.

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