Study of 11,000+ college students links high Campus Pride Index rating with lower risk factors for intimate partner violence (IPV) among LGBQ+ students

Findings in the Student Health Adjustment & Relationship Experiences (SHARE) study have shown a relationship between the Campus Pride Index scores for campuses and LGBQ+ students’ risks of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Campus Pride Index data was used as a measure of campus climate in the SHARE study, which examined the relationship between stigma experienced by LGBQ+ college students’ and social, emotional, psychological, and behavioral factors that may increase risk for IPV.

Background of the SHARE study

Headshot of Dr. Katie Edwards

Dr. Katie Edwards

Researchers Dr. Katie M. Edwards of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Dr. Heather Littleton of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs conducted the study over three years, interviewing more than 11,000 students and 4,000 faculty, staff, and administrators at 18 public universities in the U.S. Campus Pride provided researchers with a data set of Campus Pride Index scores for the chosen colleges and universities, with the granted permission of those institutions.

The researchers evaluated the relationship between campus climate—as indicated by the Campus Pride Index scores—and six other factors: self-stigma (e.g., shame), identity concealment (i.e., not being out), on campus social support, hazardous drinking, affective symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety), and experiences of IPV (i.e., psychological, physical or sexual abuse or coercion).

Findings of the SHARE study

Headshot of Dr. Heather Littleton

Dr. Heather Littleton

The study found that students at schools with higher scores on the Campus Pride Index—reflecting the presence of LGBTQ-friendly features on campus—were less likely to experience self-stigma and more likely to be out. Meanwhile, when LGBQ+ students experienced higher rates of self-stigma, they also reported more affective symptoms and hazardous drinking—both of which were linked to higher likelihood of IPV. Additional details of the findings can be found in the one-page summary of findings provided by the researchers, below.

“The SHARE study’s findings show that a campus climate that welcomes and supports LGBQ+ students may reduce risks for depression, anxiety, alcohol misuse and ultimately experiences with intimate partner violence victimization and perpetration,” said researcher Dr. Katie M. Edwards. “The Campus Pride Index provides a consistent gauge that colleges and universities can use to assess their campus climate and find areas where they can improve, to provide the safest environment for LGBQ+ students.”

The SHARE study was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and was supported by data from Campus Pride. A peer-reviewed publication of the SHARE study’s findings is forthcoming.