Department of Educational Psychology


Date of this Version



The Counseling Psychologist 46:6 (2018), pp. 685–707.

doi: 10.1177/0011000018792669


Copyright © 2018 Dena M. Abbott and Debra Mollen. Published by SAGE. Used by permission.


In a preliminary exploration of atheists using a concealable stigmatized identity framework, we investigated outness, identity magnitude, anticipated stigma, and psychological and physical well-being. Atheists (N = 1,024) in the United States, completed measures of outness, atheist identity magnitude, anticipated stigma, and psychological and physical well-being online. Consistent with predictions, we found small but significant associations between (a) anticipated stigma and well-being, (b) social components of atheist identity magnitude and outness as well as well-being, and (c) outness and well-being. A significant and moderate association was found between anticipated stigma and outness. There were significant, small indirect effects of ingroup ties, a social component of atheist identity magnitude, on psychological and physical well-being via outness; and of ingroup affect, another social component of magnitude, on psychological well-being via disclosure of atheist identity. Implications for research, practice, and training are offered.

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