Personal risking: lesbian self-disclosure of sexual orientation to professional health care providers

Nurs Res. 1992 May-Jun;41(3):178-83.


Thirty-three lesbians ranging in age from 18-68 participated as respondents in this qualitative, theory-generating study. Data were obtained through a written demographic questionnaire and in-depth taped interviews. Findings revealed a two-phase basic social process (BSP) identified as personal risking that is used by lesbians to secure their physical and/or psychological safety within the health care system. In the anticipatory phase, the risk of self-disclosure is calculated using both imaginative and cognitive strategies to determine a disclosure stance. In the interactional phase, scanning and monitoring enable the lesbian client to reevaluate the stance assumed. The data confirm that lesbians are uncomfortable in many health care situations and suggest provider responses to improve their comfort and the level of health care they receive.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Homosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Risk-Taking*
  • San Francisco
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires