Date of Award

Summer 2019

Project Type


Program or Major

Justice Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Katie M. Edwards

Second Advisor

Ellen S. Cohn

Third Advisor

Laura Siller


The issue of intimate partner violence (IPV) is widespread among members of all sexual identities. However, researchers have found sexual minority members to be at a heightened risk for experiencing IPV. This is not to say that LGBQ+ individuals are inherently more violent, but rather they experience intense stigma from the world around them. This stigma, whether it be institutionalized or enacted by peers or family members, can lead to negative health consequences such as depressive symptomology and problematic drinking behaviors. Both mental health issues such as depression and problem drinking have been shown to be linked to a higher risk of IPV. The current study explored the complex relation between different sexual minority groups, alcohol use, depression symptoms, and IPV victimization in a sample of 1,268 undergraduate students. Results indicate no significant differences in the rates of any type of lifetime IPV victimization between sexual minority students and heterosexual students for both women and men. However, there were significant differences in reported depressive symptomology with sexual minority men and women experiencing higher rates of depressive symptomology when compared to heterosexual men and women. Additionally, alcohol use and depressive symptoms were found to be significantly different among students who had experienced physical IPV victimization compared to those who had not regardless of sexual orientation. This study provides important implications for those who work with and do research among college students such as targeted programming addressing the issue of IPV and its correlates among sexual minority students.