Study shows high Campus Pride Index matches lower risk of intimate partner violence

It turns out having an accepting community helps makes people safer.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Student Health Adjustment & Relationship Experiences (SHARE) study shows that schools with a high Campus Pride Index scores 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 LGBTQ college students’ and social, emotional, psychological, and behavioral factors that may increase risk for IPV. A one-page brief of the findings is available at

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.

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 of IPV.

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 LGBTQ 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.

“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 Edwards.

“The SHARE study findings documented what LGBTQ+ campus leaders intuitively know: inclusiveness and support on campuses directly relates to the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ students,” said Campus Pride Founder, CEO and Executive Director Shane Mendez Windmeyer. “Where queer students are welcomed and affirmed, they are less likely to feel shame, anxiety and depression, and they are more likely to live openly and authentically—positively impacting their academic life and wellbeing.”

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 these findings is forthcoming.

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