Date of Conferral







Brian Ragsdale


This study was conducted to determine the associations between homophobia and heterosexism, psychodynamics of the subconscious mind, and life satisfaction among gay men during emerging adulthood. Although researchers have reported on the psychological distress associated with antigay oppression, limited research is available on the psychodynamics of young gay men in the United States, a place known for prevalent homophobia and heterosexism. Kohut's theory of self psychology and self object needs served as the theoretical foundation for the study. Selfobject needs, perceived homophobic and heterosexist discrimination, and life satisfaction were explored in a national sample of 118 gay men aged 18-25 years. Data were collected using the Selfobject Needs Inventory, Gay and Lesbian Oppressive Situation Inventory, and Satisfaction with Life Scale in a secure internet-based survey. Analysis of the data revealed significant and positive bivariate correlations between antigay oppression and elevated selfobject needs. Elevated selfobject needs were also related to psychodynamic protective reactions and maladjustment. The study results also revealed a significant negative correlation between antigay oppression and life satisfaction. The social change implications of this study relate to treatment planning and developing social programs that aim to decrease antigay oppression by informing mental health clinicians and the wider public about the inter-relationships between homophobia, heterosexism, selfobject needs of young gay men, and their life satisfaction.