Date of Conferral







Stephen C. Rice


Cognitive dissonance between learned spirituality and opposing behaviors is called spiritual cognitive dissonance (SCD). SCD has been successfully proven in former research; however, to date, it has yet to offer descriptions of specific incidents of SCD and/or how it effects the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) individual. A qualitative phenomenological study in which eight participants were interviewed was employed to collect data. The study revealed how SCD manifested in their lives, specifically those who were raised within conservative, heteronormative spiritual homes. All participants were LGBTQQ and believed they had experienced SCD. The data collected during each interview were meticulously analyzed to find similarities with other participant answers and then codified for similar ideas expressed. Each individual experienced SCD in different ways. Most of the participants experienced fear, guilt and/or shame when they began to live authentically as LGBTQQ. Many revealed they had experienced suicidal ideations. Because of the danger of suicide associated with this disorder, it is important that intervention programs be developed to properly recognize and treat this illness. Places of worship should spearhead educational opportunities specifically targeting SCD in the LGBTQQ community. Secular offerings should include education at both the secondary and collegiate levels. Additionally, since SCD is not limited to the LGBTQQ community, this data may also assist therapists who aid heterosexual individuals in coping with spiritual cognitive dissonance.