Jeremy Ramos

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Sarah Woolf-King


emerging adult;LGBTQ+;measure development;minority stress

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals report higher rates of substance use and mental health symptoms compared to cisgender and heterosexual peers. Meyer’s Minority Stress Model explains these disparities as arising from attempts to cope with proximal (e.g., internalized homophobia, expectations of rejection) and distal (e.g., discrimination, violence) minority stress. Emerging adult development factors like identity exploration and instability may contribute uniquely to experiences of SGM stress among emerging adults in ways existing measures do not capture. Accurate measurement of SGM stress among emerging adults is important to clarify the relationships proposed by Meyer’s model and identify individuals who are most at risk for substance use and mental health symptoms. The goal of this project was to develop and validate the first SGM stress measure that includes developmental factors specific to emerging adults. This was accomplished by following all stages of measure development: faculty subject experts (N=8) and emerging adult SGM college students (N=10) were recruited to evaluate item content and adapt items for emerging adults. A separate sample of SGM emerging adult US college students (N=218) was recruited for an online validation survey. Contrary to our hypothesis, a five-factor model provided the best fit for the Emerging Adult Inventory of Minority Stress (EAIMS). Reliability and validity of the EAIMS was established through significant and positive associations with an existing measure of minority stress and with measures of alcohol use and consequences, cannabis use and consequences, anxiety, general life stress, and depression. The final measure included items drawn from both minority stress and emerging adult stress measures. Further validation of this new measure with a larger, more diverse sample could strengthen the rationale for emerging adult specific measurement of SGM stress.


Open Access