Academic and Social Integration on Campus Among Sexual Minority Students: The Impacts of Psychological and Experiential Campus Climate

  • Michael R. WoodfordEmail author
  • Alex Kulick
Original Article


A heterosexist campus climate can increase risk for mental health problems for sexual minority students; however, the relationship between campus climate for sexual minorities and academic outcomes remains understudied. Using a sample of sexual minority respondents extracted from a campus climate survey conducted at a large university in the Midwest, we examine relationships between multiple dimensions of psychological and experiential campus climate for sexual minorities with academic integration (academic disengagement, grade-point average [GPA]) and social integration (institutional satisfaction, acceptance on campus). We also investigate the protective role of engagement with informal academic and peer-group systems. Findings suggest campus climate affects sexual minority students’ integration. In multivariate analyses, perceptions of whether lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people could be open about their sexual identity was positively associated with acceptance on campus; personal heterosexist harassment was positively associated with academic disengagement and negatively with GPA. Students’ informal academic integration (instructor relations) and informal social integration (LGB friends) demonstrated influential main effects but did not moderate any of the climate-outcome relationships. Researchers should further explore the relationships between climate and academic outcomes among sexual minority students, both collectively and among specific sub-groups, and address the role of other protective factors.


Lesbian, gay, and bisexual Campus climate Heterosexism Academic performance Resilience College students 



We thank the participants and the members of the advisory committee. This study was supported by the National Center for Institutional Diversity and the Curtis Center, both at the University of Michigan.


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Copyright information

© Society for Community Research and Action 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social WorkWilfrid Laurier UniversityKitchenerCanada
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of California, Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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