Date of Award

Summer 8-16-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Rebecca Weiss

Second Reader

Elizabeth Jeglic

Third Advisor

Philip Yanos


Despite the American Psychiatric Association’s removal of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973 and ego-dystonic homosexuality in 1987, nonheteronormative sexual orientations remain stigmatized and underrepresented in scientific literature. To estimate the prevalence of LGBTQIA+ topics in popular psychological research, the author queried more than 20,000 articles from 1987 to 2022 in the two most cited journals in each of four major domains (cognitive, clinical, developmental and social). In addition, the author randomly queried 20% of all empirical articles published from 1987 to 2021 in the top eight empirical journals to understand how often sexuality is included in participant descriptions. Lastly, to better understand who writes, edits, and approves LGBTQIA+ related articles, the authors contacted gatekeepers (i.e., editor in chief, associate editors, and first authors) to understand their identity in relation to the LGBTQIA+ community. Of all publications in the study timeframe (n=22,509), the eight most impactful journals published studies directly related to topic of sexuality at a rate of 0.44% (n = 100). The prevalence of research has not significantly increased over time in highest ranked journals or significantly varied within any of the four domains of psychology. Of the 5,373 randomly sampled articles, 2.5% (n=132) of articles included sexuality in the sample descriptions. Of the 78 participants who responded to the survey, the majority of authors (70.4%, n=38/54) and editors 87.5% (n=21/24) identified as heterosexual/straight. The authors concluded that despite gains, sexuality remains underexamined in psychological literature. Increasing representation in gatekeepers may be one way to address the paucity of research.



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