Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Fred J. Galloway, EdD, Chair; Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Member; Jennifer Jeffries, EdD, Member


equal rights, Homosexual community, LGBTQ+, Leadership studies, self-integrated, stage theories


An application of homosexual stage-based self-integration theory suggests that until gay individuals have become fully self-integrated, their capacity for leadership within the community is diminished. Unfortunately, now more than ever before, leadership is needed in dealing with such pressing community issues as the disproportionately high suicide rate among gay teens, the ongoing struggle for gays to become fully self-integrated individuals, bringing equal rights to the gay population, and of course, developing a base of strong gay leaders to meet the ongoing challenges facing this population. To test the self-integration-leadership hypothesis, this study surveyed 150 men in gay Internet chat rooms across the United States in an effort to measure the extent of their identity development as well as their propensity for leadership within the community. This was accomplished through the construction of a 26 question survey, based on the homosexual stage development models of Cass (1984), Griffin (1992), and D'Augelli (1994), and consisted of 18 Likert-scale questions designed to measure identity development and leadership propensity, five open-ended questions to help triangulate the final stage assessment, and three demographic questions. This information was then used to produce a final stage assignment for each of the respondents, which, together with the demographic information, was used in regression analyses designed to explain variation in the leadership propensity of community members. Results suggest that the final stage assignment for each individual, which reflects the extent to which they have become self-integrated, was a powerful factor in explaining an individual's propensity for community leadership. For example, the results of the regression analysis show an almost one-to-one correspondence between the stages of identity development and an increasing propensity for leadership; specifically, a movement of one stage in identity development is associated with an almost one-point increase (.96) in the likelihood of displaying leadership (on a five-point Likert scale). Interestingly, none of the demographic measures used were significant predictors of leadership behavior, suggesting that age, race/ethnicity, and religious affiliation may work in less direct ways in influencing the practice of leadership, something that can be explored by future researchers in the area of gay/queer studies.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access