Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Alessandra Rellini


Prior research has shown that individuals who identify as kinky and/or who engage in kink activities have higher rates of suicidal ideation (Roush et al., 2016) and behaviors (Brown et al., 2017) compared to the general population, but mechanisms of this risk have been only minimally explored. Previous work that has been done has pointed to moderators including internal feelings of shame (Roush et al., 2016) as well as relational components of isolation and belongingness (Brown et al., 2017; Brown et al., 2022). Additionally, previous research has demonstrated that kink-identified individuals report facing increased and unique stigma as a result of their identity, which can impact identity concealment and disclosure (Waldura et al., 2016; Bezreh, Weinberg, & Edgar, 2012; Wright, 2006). The current study synthesizes this prior research into a comprehensive model based on the Minority Stress Model (Meyer, 2003) to examine its applicability to kink populations. Specifically, the current study examined predictors of experienced and anticipated stigma and sexual shame to predict suicidality in a kink-identified population, while also considering the possible moderating influence of community connectedness. Due to data lost due to attrition over study modules, results were presented in both FIML-estimated and MI-estimated forms, allowing for comparison of observed data and estimated data. Results indicated positive links between both types of stigma and shame, as well as between shame and suicidality, with negative links between community and shame. Significant indirect effects of stigma on shame overall provided partial support for shame as a mediator in the relationship between stigma and suicidality, with some discrepancies based on estimators used. Interaction effects of community revealed no significant moderation of paths between stigma and shame, but inconsistent interactions in paths between shame and suicidality warrant further study with a more complete dataset. Limitations of the study design and sampling method as well as future directions regarding the consideration of minority identities as distinct predictors and assessment of additional minority stress variables are discussed.



Number of Pages

92 p.

Available for download on Wednesday, March 04, 2026