Hypervigilance: An Understudied Mediator of the Longitudinal Relationship Between Stigma and Internalizing Psychopathology Among Sexual Minority Young Adults [post]

Nathan Louis Hollinsaid, John E. Pachankis, Richard Bränström, Mark Hatzenbuehler
2022 unpublished
Hypervigilance is often theoretically invoked as a psychological mechanism linking stigma to sexual minority young adults' elevated risk for internalizing psychopathology. Yet, within sexual minority mental health research, hypervigilance is rarely explicitly assessed but instead commonly conflated with putatively related constructs, such as sexual orientation-related rejection sensitivity and rumination. This lack of measurement consistency and construct clarity has stymied the empirical study
more » ... of hypervigilance among sexual minorities, hindering conceptual and mechanistic understandings of this psychological process. To clarify this construct, we embedded a recently developed hypervigilance measure within a longitudinal, population-based study of N=811 Swedish sexual minority young adults (ages 17–34). Relatively small correlations of hypervigilance with sexual orientation-related rejection sensitivity (r=0.23) and rumination (r=0.24) suggested that hypervigilance represents a largely discrete construct. In parallel meditation models, hypervigilance—but not sexual orientation-related rejection sensitivity or rumination—mediated prospective associations between perceived discrimination and anxiety and depression symptoms two years later, explaining up to 40% of these effects when controlling for demographics and initial symptoms. Serial mediation models demonstrated that sexual orientation-related rejection sensitivity and rumination prospectively predicted hypervigilance on these longitudinal paths. Supplemental models using an alternative stigma measure, sexual orientation-related victimization, provided converging support for these mediation patterns. Findings indicate that hypervigilance may represent a distinct transdiagnostic mechanism through which stigma-related experiences and processes undermine sexual minority mental health. We discuss implications for enhancing psychological interventions by explicitly addressing hypervigilance among sexual minority young adults.
doi:10.31219/osf.io/xaz78 fatcat:amnunfwi25afji6vwq2dib5s7e