Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 94–109 | Cite as

Coming Out Growth: Conceptualizing and Measuring Stress-Related Growth Associated with Coming Out to Others as a Sexual Minority

  • Michelle D. Vaughan
  • Charles A. WaehlerEmail author


Coming out has long been depicted as a process that is conducive to personal growth. However, LGBTQ psychology has yet to conduct systematic, theoretically informed research to study how individuals experience coming out growth (COG) and the impact of such experiences on the lives of sexual minorities. The present investigation seeks to address these gaps in the literature through an examination of stress-related growth within the context of coming out as a sexual minority. Findings from a preliminary investigation of COG in a sample of 418 gay and lesbian adults are presented, including the development and initial validation of the coming out growth scale (COGS), and data addressing the relationship between COG and relevant constructs found in the literature on identity development and stress-related growth.


Stress-related growth Lesbian women Gay men Identity development Disclosure Measure development 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Neurobehavioral SciencesThe University of Virginia Center for Addiction Research and Education (UVA-CARE)CharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe University of AkronAkronUSA

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