Article

Managing Stressors Online and Offline: LGBTQ+ Youth in the Southern United States

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Abstract

LGBTQ+ youth experience negative health and wellbeing outcomes resulting from the stress of marginalization and unsupportive environments. Further, access to LGBTQ+ community resources often vary based on geographical factors. Previous research has focused on the risks of online spaces for LGBTQ+ youth, and has perceived offline environments as a primary source of community and social support. This study explored the role of offline and online social supports on the relationship between environmental factors and LGBTQ+ esteem for LGBTQ+ youth in the southern United States, a region that has historically been under-resourced. Findings suggest that the online LGBTQ+-specific social support youth in this sample received significantly moderated the impact of LGBTQ-specific stressors on LGBTQ+ esteem, and offline social support was not a significant moderator. Researchers and practitioners should explore the value of online spaces for youth who may not have access to the same level and kind of offline resources needed to promote coping and resilience as compared to youth in communities with high resource density.

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... The focus topics in 2020 and beginning 2021 are an indication of such concerns. Such topics include: digital gaming and its impact on players' wellbeing during Covid-19 [60], time sensitive information and best practices program evaluation [69], overwhelming effect of online meetings on Gastrointestinal physicians as a result of limiting free movement due to Covid-19 [56], alleviating interpersonal violence in adolescents [48], managing stressors imposed on specific communities, more specifically the LGBTQ + community online and offline [79], accessing addiction recovery [49], improving child anxiety and depression [66], concern about older adults living in residential aged care [67], evaluation and exploitation of collaboration in digital health solutions [50], psychological outcomes emerging from interactions on social networking sites [64], subjective wellbeing acquired through digitalization of skills [54], and digitalized social support in the healthcare environment [55]. Table 2. ...
... Research. Social science research category was made up of six papers [54,76,77,78,79,80]. The main concern in these papers is support, altruism, interdependence, and the benefit these can have on online and off-line communities' wellbeing, health, quality of life, and happiness. ...
... The main concern in these papers is support, altruism, interdependence, and the benefit these can have on online and off-line communities' wellbeing, health, quality of life, and happiness. In fact, the main virtual communities mentioned in these papers are those who suffer from certain social rejection, like unwed mothers [80] and LGBTQ + community [79]. The pairwise interdependence and altruism impact on virtual communities was examined by Teng [78] and Chiu [76]. ...
Chapter
Different from the traditional communities, virtual communities have allowed people more geographically dispersed with diverse needs and interests to interact online. This phenomenon has dragged researchers’ attention from various perspectives: Nevertheless, a major interest was shown towards virtual communities and their relation to wellbeing. The purpose of this research is to carry out a review of literature related to virtual communities and their wellbeing, using data from 29 retained relevant papers from 2015 till January 2021. The methodology was based on key words and similar keywords’ combinations, and content analysis. The key findings showed that the area of research in concern is still at its early stages due to the limited number of papers. However, an emerging trend was revealed with publications’ increase in 2020. Four types of methods were used in the papers. Those include quantitative, qualitative, mixed, and review techniques. Findings on the relationship between virtual communities and wellbeing indicated a rather positive link, with a focus on wellbeing+ and health+ pairwise, more particularly in 2020. The main research fields were healthcare, computer science/technology, social science, and marketing management research. Interdisciplinarity of the research fields was also highlighted. The results revealed several support tools used in different platforms which served to propose relevant orientation for future research in the area of interest.
... Rural schools, especially those in Southern states, are less likely to have LGBTQ-related resources and supports for students (Kosciw et al., 2020;O'Connell et al., 2010), leaving rural LGBTQ+ youth less visible and without access to important resources that support healthy psychosocial development (Hatzenbuehler & Keyes, 2013;Paceley, 2016). Use of technology may be particularly important for more isolated, rural LGBTQ+ youth that experience victimization as social media and other digital media allows them to establish connections with the larger LGBTQ+ community, seek positive, affirming messages about LGBTQ+ people, access LGBTQ+related knowledge and resources important to their health and development, and expand their social support networks (Wagaman et al., 2020). ...
... This fits with the concept of "family acceptance-rejection" (Asakura, 2019), which suggests that family acceptance and support is a process, and may be particularly important for rural youth families who may struggle with navigating their own identities as parents within this context. Other studies have indicated the family context as a place of both support and stress (Wagaman et al., 2020) and this was reflected in the stories of our youth participants. ...
... Interestingly, youth in this study primarily described mainstream social media outlets, such as Instagram and Facebook that are used widely by many audiences to illustrate how they experienced both victimization and support through use of these apps. It is probable that they use other avenues, such as LGBTQ+-specific groups or platforms, to find belonging and support, which is evidenced in the literature (Wagaman et al., 2020). While youth in this study described victimization through social media from family, community, and peers, most of the peerrelated victimization on social media that they described seemed to be extensions of existing offline bullying. ...
Article
LGBTQ+ youth experience higher rates of interpersonal violence, such as peer-based bullying and identity-based harassment, than their counterparts. Experiences of victimization can occur across different social contexts including family, school, peers, and community. LGBTQ+ youth in rural communities may be at increased risk for identity-based victimization due in part to geographic isolation and an often conservative value system that may create a hostile environment to LGBTQ+ individuals. However, few studies have examined the experiences of rural LGBTQ+ youth from their perspectives, and how the rural context may affect their experiences with victimization and social support. This qualitative study explores the victimization experiences of rural LGBTQ+ youth, the supports available to them, and ways they show resilience. We conducted qualitative interviews with a sample of 11 young people ages 12-21, recruited in partnership with a local LGBTQ+ agency across a rural five county region in the Southeastern United States. Four themes emerged related to how rural youth navigate bullying, harassment, and victimization across different social contexts and the support that is available to them: (1) conflicting family messages, (2) navigating personal safety at school, (3) connecting through technology, and (4) confronting negative religious sentiment. A fifth theme captures the strengths of young people in the mid of victimization: (5) demonstrating individual and collective resilience. Although rural LGBTQ+ youth experience victimization in similar ways to urban and suburban youth, rural youth may have less access to social supports that buffer effects of victimization. This study highlights the strengths in rural LGBTQ+ young people as well as their commitment to supporting one another and seeing change in their communities. Findings illustrate a need for greater support for LGBTQ+ youth in rural areas while leveraging existing strength of the youth and their community for sustainable support and resources.
... Identity issues in adolescence occur during the course of biological changes, and changes in family relationships and peer social networks (Graber & Archibald, 2001;McClintock & Herdt, 1996). In addition to the stressors associated with normative adolescent development, LGB youths face specific stressors, related to their sexual orientation such as disclosing sexual orientation, being ridiculed by others, and peer-acceptance (Wagaman et al., 2020). ...
... It is quite plausible that various factors contribute to the emergence of mental health problems of youth who belong in sexual minorities during adolescence that consists a critical developmental state with additional stress and anxiety because of possible difficulties arising from adjustment issues, relationship issues, family relationships and peer social support (Graber & Archibald, 2001;McClintock & Herdt, 1996). Many adolescents disclosing their sexual orientation are being ridiculed by their peers and they are feeling excluded and being scapegoated causing enormous stress (Wagaman et al., 2020). It is also understood that sexual minorities adolescents are exposed to a general negative atmosphere that make them vulnerable to demonstrate various negative emotions worsening their mental health (Muñoz-Plaza et al., 2002). ...
Article
This study provides the first empirical account of mental health issues among sexual minority adolescents in Greece and the effects on mental health of both bullying and victimization in relation to adolescents' sexual orientation. A sample of 757 adolescents (M age = 15.98, SD = 0.84) completed self-reported scales measuring school bullying victimization experiences, levels of depression, feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, feeling of belonging in school, self-esteem, and sense of wellbeing. Statistically significant differences were observed between heterosexuals and gay adolescents in depression, loneliness, bullying behavior and school belongingness. Gay adolescents are more likely to present higher levels of depression. Furthermore, sexual orientation was also found to be significant moderator of the effect of bullying victimization on loneliness. Bullying was associated with low sense of school belonging and victimization with depressive symptomatology, loneliness and low sense of school belonging and self-esteem. Students' self-esteem and school belongingness were found to have a protective role against loneliness, depression and hopelessness. The findings of the current study provide valuable information to school psychologists, teachers, policy makers, and other professionals whose goals are to enhance adolescent functioning and adaptation. It is suggested that intervention strategies designed to promote resilience should incorporate sexual orientation issues.
... Online communities may provide important platforms for LGBTI+ youth, particularly those outside urban centres [65,73,103,124,[126][127][128][129][130][131][132]. They appear to facilitate access to LGBTI+-specific social support [103,128,130,132], emotional support [132] and increased connectedness [73,124,126,129,131], as a consequence. ...
... Online communities may provide important platforms for LGBTI+ youth, particularly those outside urban centres [65,73,103,124,[126][127][128][129][130][131][132]. They appear to facilitate access to LGBTI+-specific social support [103,128,130,132], emotional support [132] and increased connectedness [73,124,126,129,131], as a consequence. This was enhanced when there were no in-person LGBTI+ supports available locally [131]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Considerable research has been undertaken regarding the mental health inequalities experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) youth as a consequence of societal and individual prejudice, stigma and discrimination. Far less research has focussed on protective factors that promote wellbeing for this population. A scoping review was conducted using a six-stage methodological framework, and is reported in accordance with the PRISMA-ScR statement. This explored the extent, range and nature of the peer-reviewed, published, academic literature on what is known about the protective factors that promote LGBTI+ youth wellbeing. Six databases were systematically searched applying Population–Concept–Context key inclusion criteria, complemented by contact with authors to identify additional sources, reference checks and hand searches. Ninety-six individual research records were identified and analysed, drawing from Honneth’s Recognition Theory. Interpersonal relations with parents (n = 40), peers (n = 32) and providers (n = 22) were associated with indicators of enhanced wellbeing, as were LGBTI+ community relations (n = 32). Importantly, online (n = 10), faith (n = 10) and cultural (n = 5) communities were potentially protective. Content and thematic analysis highlighted the importance of Gay–Straight Alliances (GSAs) (n = 23) offering powerful protective opportunities through intersecting interpersonal, community and legal forms of recognition. GSAs enhance allyship by peers and providers (n = 21), facilitate access to LGBTI+ community networks (n = 11) and co-exist alongside inclusive policies (n = 12), curricular (n = 5) and extracurricular activities (n = 1). This scoping review underscores the need to move beyond the predominant focus on risk factors for LGBTI+ youth, which subsequently inform protectionist approaches. It concludes with an appeal to develop mechanisms to apply recognitive justice to policy, practice and, importantly, future research directions. This emphasises the salience of enhanced understandings of inclusion, which is rights-based, universally available and of potential benefit to all.
... Online communities may provide important platforms for LGBTI+ youth, particularly those outside urban centres [65,73,103,124,[126][127][128][129][130][131][132]. They appear to facilitate access to LGBTI+-specific social support [103,128,130,132], emotional support [132] and increased connectedness [73,124,126,129,131], as a consequence. ...
... Online communities may provide important platforms for LGBTI+ youth, particularly those outside urban centres [65,73,103,124,[126][127][128][129][130][131][132]. They appear to facilitate access to LGBTI+-specific social support [103,128,130,132], emotional support [132] and increased connectedness [73,124,126,129,131], as a consequence. This was enhanced when there were no in-person LGBTI+ supports available locally [131]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Considerable research has been undertaken regarding the mental health inequalities experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) youth as a consequence of societal and individual prejudice, stigma and discrimination. Far less research has focussed on protective factors that promote wellbeing for this population. A scoping review was conducted using a six-stage methodological framework, and is reported in accordance with the PRISMA-ScR statement. This explored the extent, range and nature of the peer-reviewed, published, academic literature on what is known about the protective factors that promote LGBTI+ youth wellbeing. Six databases were systematically searched applying Population–Concept–Context key inclusion criteria, complemented by contact with authors to identify additional sources, reference checks and hand searches. Ninety-six individual research records were identified and analysed, drawing from Honneth’s Recognition Theory. Interpersonal relations with parents (n = 40), peers (n = 32) and providers (n = 22) were associated with indicators of enhanced wellbeing, as were LGBTI+ community relations (n = 32). Importantly, online (n = 10), faith (n = 10) and cultural (n = 5) communities were potentially protective. Content and thematic analysis highlighted the importance of Gay–Straight Alliances (GSAs) (n = 23) offering powerful protective opportunities through intersecting interpersonal, community and legal forms of recognition. GSAs enhance allyship by peers and providers (n = 21), facilitate access to LGBTI+ community networks (n = 11) and co-exist alongside inclusive policies (n = 12), curricular (n = 5) and extracurricular activities (n = 1). This scoping review underscores the need to move beyond the predominant focus on risk factors for LGBTI+ youth, which subsequently inform protectionist approaches. It concludes with an appeal to develop mechanisms to apply recognitive justice to policy, practice and, importantly, future research directions. This emphasises the salience of enhanced understandings of inclusion, which is rights-based, universally available and of potential benefit to all.
... Identifying and creating spaces for LGBTQ+ young people that simultaneously recognize and address these barriers may be important to build a sense of connection and belongingness that can serve as protective for LGBTQ+ emerging adults. For example, online interventions that connect LGBTQ+ young people with peers have shown to be valuable to wellbeing and require little effort if a young person has access to internet or cellular service (Craig et al. 2015;Wagaman et al. 2020). ...
Article
This study investigated thwarted belongingness as a moderator of the relationship between microaggressions and mental health among LGBTQ+ emerging adults. Using data collected from 186 LGBTQ+ emerging adults, we conducted separate moderation analyses to examine whether, and to what extent, the relation between microaggressions and mental health (i.e. anxiety and depressive symptoms) is moderated by thwarted belongingness. Interpersonal and environmental microaggressions were associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms. Results of the moderation models suggest that the effects of interpersonal and environmental microaggressions on anxiety symptoms were moderated by thwarted belongingness, and that relations between interpersonal and environmental microaggressions and anxiety symptoms were statistically significant and positive at moderate and high levels of thwarted belongingness. In contrast, at low levels of thwarted belongingness, the relationship between microaggressions and anxiety was not statistically significant. Thwarted belongingness also moderated the relationship between interpersonal microaggressions and depression, such that the relation between interpersonal microaggressions and depression was statistically significant and positive only at high and moderate levels.. These findings provide support for recognizing belongingness as a potential factor in determining the effects of microaggressions on mental health outcomes for LGBTQ+ emerging adults.
... youth homelessness(Begun et al., 2019;Coolhart & Brown, 2017;Côté & Blais, 2019;Maccio & Ferguson, 2016;Mountz & Capous-Desyllas, 2020;Prock & Kennedy, 2017;Rew et al., 2019;Shelton, 2015);  sexual exploitation (Hounmen & O'Grady, 2019);  the child welfare system and foster care experiences(Goldberg et al., 2019(Goldberg et al., , 2020Scannapieco et al., 2018;Wilson & Kastanis, 2015); bullying and harassment(Barth & Olsen, 2020;; mental health support interventions, resources, and outcomes(Craig & Austin, 2016;Chiang et al., 2018;Richards-Schuster et al., 2013;Scannapieco et al., 2018;Wagaman et al., 2020;Wells et al., 2013); and  school safety (Atteberry et al., 2019; Seelman et al. ...
Article
Although Child and Youth Care (CYC) sees itself as a field that embraces diversity and complexity, there is a notable lack of discussion of sexual and gender diversity: queer and trans topics are rarely taken up across CYC research, practice, and pedagogy. Through a systematic literature review of articles published between 2010 and early 2020 in six journals with a focus on CYC practice, research, and theory, this article assesses how queer, trans, Two-Spirit, and nonbinary identities and topics are being discussed in the current CYC literature and reveals a conspicuous absence of publication on these topics. In a 10-year period, across six CYC publications comprising over 4000 published articles, only 36 articles focused on queer and LGBT issues (by covering both sexual and gender diversity) and, of those, only eight articles specifically focused on gender diversity or trans topics. No articles were found within any of the reviewed publications that specifically focused on Two-Spirit identities or topics and only one article mentioned nonbinary identities. Through exploring how and where queer and trans, Two-Spirit, and nonbinary identities and topics are being discussed, this review asks how we as a CYC field might begin to make space for these topics within our field and practice, in order to work towards social change that shifts our field and challenges the cis-heteronormative CYC system.
... For example, family rejection (Ryan et al., 2009), peer harassment (Russell & Fish, 2016), and coming out stress (Baams et al., 2015) are implicated in LGBTQ youth mental health and substance use (Goldbach et al., 2014;Russell & Fish, 2016). Youth felt comfortable to discuss personal and stressful experiences in a context with peers and facilitators who could normalize these experiences, offer support, and recommend resources and informationreactions that could mitigate the negative impacts of these stressors (Wagaman et al., 2020). Results also suggest that youth may feel safer and more comfortable sharing personal or uncomfortable experiences and questions in a text-based (rather than face-to-face) context; youth mentioned how they were able to say what was on their mind, appreciating both the anonymity of the space and the presence of LGBTQ peers and supportive adults. ...
Article
Full-text available
There are few psychosocial support programs specifically designed to meet the unique developmental and health needs of LGBTQ youth. Even when available, many youth face significant barriers to accessing LGBTQ-specific services for fear of being “outed” to parents, peers, and community members. The current study assessed the utility, feasibility, and acceptability of a synchronous, adult-facilitated, chat-based Internet community support program for LGBTQ youth aged 13–19. Chat transcripts were analyzed to examine how LGBTQ youth used the chat-based platform to connect with peers and trusted adults. A separate user satisfaction survey was collected to assess the personal (e.g., sexual orientation, gender identity, age) and contextual (e.g., geography, family environment) characteristics of youth engaging in the platform, their preferred topics of discussion, and their satisfaction with the program focus and facilitators. Qualitative data analysis demonstrated the degree to which LGBTQ youth were comfortable disclosing difficult and challenging situations with family, friends, and in their community and in seeking support from peers and facilitators online. Youth also used the platform to explore facets of sexual and gender identity/expression and self-acceptance. Overall, users were very satisfied with the platform, and participants accurately reflect the program’s desired populations for engagement (e.g., LGBTQ youth of color, LGBTQ youth in the South). Together, findings support the feasibility and acceptability of synchronous, adult-facilitated, chat-based Internet programs to connect and support LGBTQ youth, which encourage future research and innovation in service delivery.
... While peer support [17,18], gender and sexuality alliances, [19] and supportive online LGBQ-specific networks [20,21] appear to buffer or reduce exposure to stress, little is known of SMA self-care. Even less is known about SMA self-care practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, when such supports may be harder to maintain. ...
Article
Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in major life disruptions for sexual minority adolescents (SMAs), who already face and cope with pervasive and disproportionate rates of social, behavioral, and mental health challenges. Current research suggests that SMAs are struggling with COVID-19-related shelter in place orders navigating family proximity and dynamics and experiencing isolation from SMA-specific supports. Given identified challenges that may exacerbate known mental health disparities in SMAs, this work explores self-care practices among SMAs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: The present study uses data from open-ended questions to understand SMA experiences of self-care within a nationwide sample of SMAs (N ¼ 770; M ¼ 17.48 years, SD ¼ 1.00) who are part of an ongoing prospective study. Data were collected via online questionnaire between May 13 and 31, 2020. Thematic analysis guided data exploration. Results: Thematic analysis revealed five self-care practices among SMAs: (1) relationships, (2) routines, (3) body and mind, (4) rest and reset, and (5) tuning out. SMAs engaged in many positive coping strategies (i.e., exercise, establishing routine) and often linked these activities to positive well-being. Other SMAs engaged in activities to distract or disengage from stressors (i.e., excessive TV and alcohol and drug use). Conclusions: These findings highlight the resiliency of SMAs during the current pandemic, opportunities for providers to emphasize adaptive coping skills with youths, and the need for more research on adolescent self-care practices
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Sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY) disproportionately experience risks including discrimination and victimization, as well as psycho-social and behavioral concerns. There remains a relative lack of attention to factors promoting their positive development – particularly via online modalities. Research on their supportive use of technologies in specific contexts is necessary to explain the positive outcomes of contemporary SGMY despite their experiences of excessive risk. This article employs uses and gratifications theory to investigate online fandom communities as a source of social support for SGMY, as well as the potential of these online communities to contribute to their resilience and positive adjustment. A sample (n = 3665) of SGMY aged 14–29 ( x¯ = 17.77) was drawn from a mixed methods online survey. Results indicate participation in online fandom communities may increase connectedness, provide opportunities for support and mentorship, facilitate navigation of challenges towards positive adjustment, and encourage feelings of strength. Implications for research and professional practice are emphasized.
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LGBTQ+ (e.g., lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) youths’ engagement with information and communication technologies (ICTs) allows them to access social support, develop their identities, and increase their well-being in a context of relative safety. However, a significant knowledge gap remains regarding the patterns of LGBTQ+ youths’ use of ICTs, how ICT usage varies among LGBTQ+ sub-populations, as well as how LGBTQ+ youths’ usage compares to the general youth population. This article investigates the use of ICTs by a geographically diverse, cross-sectional survey sample (n = 6309) of LGBTQ+ youth (ages 14–29) from across the United States and Canada. The sample’s use of mobile and non-mobile digital devices, their time spent engaging online, and their participation on a wide variety of social media and other online platforms were studied. A comparison of participants’ experiences was also undertaken based upon their sociodemographic characteristics—particularly age, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethno-racial identity, community type, and socioeconomic status. Significant implications for contemporary social work practice with diverse LGBTQ+ youth populations and sub-populations by individual service providers and social service organizations are discussed.
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Mixed methods analyses of an online survey sample (n = 4942) of sexual and/or gender minority youth (SGMY) (age 14–29) explore the relationship between participation in online fandom communities and (1) socially-mediated identity milestones and (2) self-identification, comparing fandom participating SGMY versus non-fandom participating SGMY. Fandom participating youth were younger than their non-fandom participating peers, were more active online daily, and hit established identity milestones earlier and more rapidly. Fandom participating youth also identified with more complexity, using a broader variety of more non-traditional sexual identity and gender identity labels. Implications for research and practice are provided.
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The second in a series of Research-to-Impact briefs by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago on understanding and addressing youth homelessness. Missed Opportunities: LGBTQ Youth Homelessness in America highlights research related to the specific experiences of young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) and face homelessness. We learned that, compared to heterosexual and nontransgender youth, LGBTQ youth are disproportionately represented among the nearly 4.2 million youth and young adults in America who experienced some form of homelessness during a 12-month period. They also face a higher risk of early death and other adversities. On the positive side, this research points to actionable opportunities to better meet the needs of LGBTQ young people in our collective efforts to end youth homelessness.
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Background: Sexual and gender minority youth are a population in peril, exemplified by their disproportionate risk of negative experiences and outcomes. Sexual and gender minority youth may be particularly active users of information and communication technologies (ICTs), and it is important to identify the potential contributions of ICTs to their resilience and well-being. Objective: Our aim was to (1) investigate the use of ICTs by sexual and gender minority youth, (2) identify the ways that ICTs influence the resilience and coping of sexual and gender minority youth, focusing on promotion of well-being through self-guided support-seeking (particularly using mobile devices), (3) develop a contextually relevant theoretical conceptualization of resilience incorporating minority stress and ecological approaches, (4) generate best practices and materials that are accessible to multiple interested groups, and (5) identify whether video narratives are a viable alternative to collect qualitative responses in Web-based surveys for youth. Methods: Mixed methods, cross-sectional data (N=6309) were collected via a Web-based survey from across the United States and Canada from March-July 2016. The sample was generated using a multipronged, targeted recruitment approach using Web-based strategies and consists of self-identified English-speaking sexual and gender minority youth aged 14-29 with technological literacy sufficient to complete the Web-based survey. The survey was divided into eight sections: (1) essential demographics, (2) ICT usage, (3) health and mental health, (4) coping and resilience, (5) sexual and gender minority youth identities and engagement, (6) fandom communities, (7) nonessential demographics, and (8) a video submission (optional, n=108). The option of a 3-5 minute video submission represents a new research innovation in Web-based survey research. Results: Data collection is complete (N=6309), and analyses are ongoing. Proposed analyses include (1) structural equation modeling of quantitative data, (2) grounded theory analysis of qualitative data, and (3) an integrative, mixed methods analysis using a data transformation design. Theoretical and methodological triangulation of analyses integrates an interwoven pattern of results into a comprehensive picture of a phenomenon. Results will be reported in 2017 and 2018. Conclusions: This research study will provide critical insights into the emerging use of ICTs by sexual and gender minority youth and identify intervention strategies to improve their well-being and reduce risks encountered by this vulnerable population. Implications for practice, research, and knowledge translation are provided. Full text available here: http://www.researchprotocols.org/2017/9/e189/
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This study investigates self-harm among young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) people. Using qualitative virtual methods, we examined online forums to explore young LGBT people’s cybertalk about emotional distress and self-harming. We investigated how youth explained the relationship between self-harm and sexuality and gender. We found that LGBT youth may articulate contradictory, ambiguous, and multiple accounts of the relationship but there were three strong explanations: (a) self-harm was because of homophobia and transphobia; (b) self-harm was due to self-hatred, fear, and shame; (c) self-harm was emphatically not related to sexuality or gender. There was evidence of youth negotiating LGBT identities, managing homophobia, resisting pathologization, and explaining self-harm as a way of coping.
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This article aims to expand the critical frameworks by which online social networking can be contextualised and understood within the broader cultural practices of identity and selfhood. Utilising Judith Butler’s theories of performative identity, it is argued that the use of social networking sites are performative acts in and of themselves. Two facets of social networking are examined from theoretical and critical perspectives: (1) the use of social networking profiles (Info pages, taste selections, biographies) as a tool for performing, developing and stabilising identity as a narrative in line with cultural demands for coherence, intelligibility and recognition; (2) identity performances that occur through relationality among online friends through list maintenance and communication (wall posts, tagging, commentary), and how identity is reconfigured within a network morphology. Finally, the article aims to open discussion around the broad cultural practices and implications of online social networking by developing some theoretical approaches to understanding the incompatibilities between these two facets which compete and risk the ‘undoing’ of online identity coherence. Within the framework of the growing use of social networking sites as one area in which our selfhood and subjectivity are performed, this incompatibility and undoing has both risks and benefits for future the cultural production of identity.
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This qualitative study explored the resilience of 13 transgender youth of color in the southeastern region of the U.S. The definition of resilience framing this study was a participant’s ability to “bounce back” from challenging experiences as transgender youth of color. Using a phenomenological research tradition and a feminist, intersectionality (intercategorical) theoretical framework, the research question guiding the study was: “What are the daily lived experiences of resilience transgender youth of color describe as they negotiate intersections of transprejudice and racism?” The researchers’ individuated findings included five major domains of the essence of participants’ daily lived experiences of resilience despite experiencing racism and transprejudice: (1) evolving, simultaneous self-definition of racial/ethnic and gender identities, (2) being aware of adultism experiences, (3) self-advocacy in educational systems, (4) finding one’s place in the LGBTQQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning) youth community, and (5) use of social media to affirm one’s identities as a transgender youth of color. Implications for practice, research, and advocacy, in addition to the study’s limitations are discussed.
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Research suggests that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youths are at increased risk for both victimization and internalizing mental health problems, but limited research has studied their association or factors that increase resilience. The sample in this study included 425 LGBs between the ages of 16 and 24 years. The majority had disclosed their sexual orientation to family or friends (98%), and 97% had someone in their lives who was accepting of their orientation. Racial/ethnic minority and female participants in general reported lower levels of disclosure and acceptance. Most participants reported some form of sexual orientation-related victimization (94%). Victimization was associated with psychological distress, but a compensatory model indicated that in the context of this victimization both peer and family support had significant promotive effects. A test of a protective model found social support did not ameliorate negative effects of victimization. The positive effects of family support decreased with age. Peer and family support were particularly important, but they did not significantly dampen the negative effects of victimization. Findings suggest that mental health professionals working with LGB youths should address social support and that public health approaches are needed to reduce levels of victimization.
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As transgender and gender-expansive (TGE) youth and young adults (YYA) navigate challenging environments, they often seek spaces for safety and acceptance. This study explores ways in which a group of TGE YYA who were engaged with a community-based service organization make sense of their experiences, challenges, and successes in ways that illuminate the factors and processes associated with resilience. Secondary data analysis was conducted on qualitative responses from 85 TGE YYA ages 13–24. The themes that emerged provide insight into the ways community-based programs and providers can understand and support the resilience of TGE YYA.
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Twenty years have elapsed since the publication of Carryin' On in the Lesbian and Gay South, edited by historian John Howard. The essays in that collection challenged the bicoastal and metro-normative bias of American gay and lesbian history. Since then, scholars, activists, and local community members have continued to refine our understanding of the regionally specific ways—the four R's of race, religion, rurality, and resilience—through which sex and sexuality are understood and embodied in the American South. Oral history, constantly improving technology, and greater connectivity through the Internet are facilitating conversations across disciplines and beyond the University. Whereas early Southern gay and lesbian scholarship suffered from a long tradition of queer exclusion from the archive and a devaluing of queer lives, the variety of hybrid community and university LGBTIQ+ documentation projects across the south evidence a sea change. Far from perfect, the field of Southern lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer history is becoming ever more diverse and inclusive.
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Safe schools coalitions (SSCs) are community-based organizations aimed at changing school policy and broader communities to be more responsive to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth. Despite the prevalence of these coalitions, little is known about their organizing work. Using case study methods, semistructured interviews were conducted with 9 SSC leaders in 3 states in the South. Five themes identified were: formation and goals; organizational barriers and challenges; Southern cultural context; relationships with national organizations; and innovation. Best practices when working with SSCs in similarly conservative, underresourced contexts were developed based upon the analysis.
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Although use of social networking sites has been linked to both positive and negative changes in young people's mental health, it is likely that these contributions may vary based on users' motivations and social status. For sexual minority youth, for example, the sites could provide means for social support and connections with like-minded others. Accordingly, our study sought to examine the relations between sexual minority youth's social networking site use and their social support, sexual identity strength, and mental health. We conducted an online survey, sampling 146 sexual minority youth respondents (M = 21 years; SD = 2.87 years) and 477 heterosexual youth respondents (M = 20 years; SD = 2.76 years). Results indicated that although both sexual minority and heterosexual youth use social networking sites at equal rates, sexual minority youth indicated that they use sites more for identity development and social communication. Moreover, using sites for general identity expression or exploration predicted negative mental health outcomes, whereas using sites specifically for sexual identity development predicted positive mental health outcomes. These results provide greater insight into how social networking sites may impact the mental health of marginalized groups, and provide a framework for understanding differences in social networking site use by sexuality.
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From Wal-Mart drag parties to renegade Homemaker's Clubs, Out in the Countryoffers an unprecedented contemporary account of the lives of today's rural queer youth. Mary L. Gray maps out the experiences of young people living in small towns across rural Kentucky and along its desolate Appalachian borders, providing a fascinating and often surprising look at the contours of gay life beyond the big city. Gray illustrates that, against a backdrop of an increasingly impoverished and privatized rural America, LGBT youth and their allies visiblyand often vibrantlywork the boundaries of the public spaces available to them, whether in their high schools, public libraries, town hall meetings, churches, or through websites. This important book shows that, in addition to the spaces of Main Street, rural LGBT youth explore and carve out online spaces to fashion their emerging queer identities. Their triumphs and travails defy clear distinctions often drawn between online and offline experiences of identity, fundamentally redefining our understanding of the term 'queer visibility' and its political stakes. Gray combines ethnographic insight with incisive cultural critique, engaging with some of the biggest issues facing both queer studies and media scholarship. Out in the Countryis a timely and groundbreaking study of sexuality and gender, new media, youth culture, and the meaning of identity and social movements in a digital age.
The mental health problems of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (Igb) youths were studied using a sample of 542 youths from community settings. Information about the development of sexual orientation, problems related to sexual orientation, parents' reactions, and victimization based on sexual orientation was related to mental health symptoms and suicidality. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths were found to demonstrate more symptoms than a comparison group of adolescents. Over one-third of the sample reported a past suicide attempt. More symptoms were related to parents not knowing about youths' sexual orientation or with both parents having negative reactions to youths' sexual orientation. More than three-quarters had been verbally abused because of their sexual orientation, and 15 percent reported physical attacks. More than one-third said they had lost friends because of their sexual orientation. Youths who had experienced more victimization and who had lost friends reported more mental health symptoms. Mental health professionals are urged to attend to the distinct problems of these youths, especially dealing with conflicts with families and peers.
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School social workers can serve as valuable supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youths in the public school system by providing services aimed to improve school climates for all students. This article describes a qualitative study that examined gay and bisexual adolescent experiences with peer support using a phenomenological inquiry approach. Five themes related to peer support emerged from the data: (1) peers are an important source of support for LGBT youths in word and deed; (2) LGBT youths fear judgment from non-LGBT peers; (3) not all peers are supportive; (4) gay–straight alliances serve as a form of peer support even when students do not attend; and (5) LGBT adolescents seek support online. Several implications aimed at improving the school climate for all students as well as study strengths and limitations are discussed. Specific recommendations include offering interventions aimed at improving affective empathy among the student body, offering traditional support groups for LGBT youths, recruiting and training peer allies, and connecting LGBT youths to adult role models.
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Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adolescents disclose their sexual and/or gender identities to peers at school. Disclosure of LGBT status is linked with positive psychosocial adjustment for adults; however, for adolescents, "coming out" has been linked to school victimization, which in turn is associated with negative adjustment. This study investigates the associations among adolescent disclosure of LGBT status to others at school, school victimization, and young adult psychosocial adjustment using a sample of 245 LGBT young adults (aged 21-25 years, living in California). After accounting for the association between school victimization and later adjustment, being out at high school was associated with positive psychosocial adjustment in young adulthood. Results have significant implications for training of school-based health and mental health providers, education and guidance for parents and caregivers, fostering positive development of LGBT youth, and developing informed school policies and educational practices. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Objective We examined the relationships between victimization from being bullied, suicide, hopelessness, and the presence of a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) on a school campus. Method We analyzed data from the California Healthy Kids Survey from 2005-2007 utilizing hierarchical modeling. Results We found that gay-bias (versus non-gay-bias) victimization is meaningfully connected with the inwardly destructive behavior of attempted suicide among adolescents. We also found that hopelessness helps explain associations between gay-bias victimization and suicide attempts and that the presence of a GSA club on a school’s campus attenuates significant connections between gay-bias victimization and suicide attempts by reducing hopelessness. Conclusion Gay-bias victims are more likely than other victims to attempt suicide while also feeling more hopeless. The presence of a GSA on campus may help reduce the attempted suicide and hopelessness associated with gay-bias victimization.
Article
In the last decade, research of increasing sophistication has appeared concerning adolescents and young adults who self-identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (lgb) (see D'Augelli & Patterson, 2001, for reviews of current research). These youths made their first appearance in the psychological research literature nearly thirty years ago (Roesler & Deisher, 1972), and a non-pathologized conceptual analysis of their life challenges did not appear until the early 1980's (Malyon, 1981). The publication of several papers by Remafedi in 1987 (Remafedi, 1987a, b) launched the contemporary empirical interest in lgb youths. These papers, although based on a small sample of adolescents in Minneapolis, not only focused on their mental health problems, but also attended to the circumstances of their lives, including mistreatment by others because of their sexual orientation. These landmark studies were followed by studies conducted on college campuses (e.g., D'Augelli, 1991) as well as descriptive survey-based studies that included youth from diverse community settings (e.g., D'Augelli & Hershberger, 1993; Savin-Williams, 1990). Several core studies were conducted in urban social service agencies that deal with lgb youths (Herdt & Boxer, 1993; Hunter, 1991). These interview-based studies had the advantage of being able to obtain detailed information unavailable in survey research, but they had the inevitable problem of generalizability. Generalizability to the larger population of youths who have same-sex attractions is a major strength of the population-based surveys that have been the most recent additions to the literature (e.g., Faulkner & Cranston, 1998; Remafedi, Resnick, Blum, & Harris, 1992). These studies use large representative samples of high school students; such studies sort youths by sexual orientation on the basis of questions about same-sex sexual orientation, same-sex sexual behavior, or the gender of youths' sexual partners. These population-based surveys share with other survey research on lgb youths limits on the nature of information obtained; for instance, in some of these studies, only data on sexual behavior are available. Research on lgb youths has endeavored to elucidate the processes of development they undergo as they move through puberty to young adulthood. From the perspective of developmental research, these youths provide information about how sexual orientation evolves prior to puberty and crystallizes thereafter, providing critical insights into how adolescents experience the emergence of sexual identity (Graber & Archibald, 2001; McClintock & Herdt, 1998). In contrast to earlier generations of lgb people who self-identified as non-heterosexual in early adulthood as they established independence from their families of origin, many lgb youths currently self-identify during early adolescence. The earlier timing of contemporary lgb youths' self-identification highlights the importance of the social context on these youths' development (D'Augelli, 1998). These youths are, for the most part, still at home and in school, two crucial social contexts for adolescent development. Thus, they are adolescents whose cognitive, emotional, and social development is still occurring; they are confronting the challenge of disclosing a stigmatized identity; and, their primary social contexts--the home and the school–are often problematic settings. Lgb youths, then, can provide an important population for the study of how social context influences development. Unfortunately, little psychological research on the impact of contextual factors on the development of sexual orientation has occurred (D'Augelli, 1989), despite the crucial role contextual factors have played in the emergence of lgb communities (Garnets & D'Augelli, 1994). This chapter will review research on developmental and contextual factors on the lives of lgb youths. A comprehensive review of the research is beyond the scope of the chapter, and the reader is referred to D'Augelli and Patterson (2001). Instead, this chapter will highlight findings from several studies the author has completed on lgb youths, using the results to demonstrate the importance of employing developmental-contextual thinking in such research.
Article
Few studies have examined school-based factors associated with variability in the victimization and health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Among 15,965 students in 45 Wisconsin schools, we identified differences based on Gay–Straight Alliance (GSA) presence. Youth in schools with GSAs reported less truancy, smoking, drinking, suicide attempts, and sex with casual partners than those in schools without GSAs, with this difference being more sizable for LGBTQ than heterosexual youth. GSA-based differences were greatest for sexual minority girls on reported sex while using drugs. GSA effects were nonsignificant for general or homophobic victimization, grades, and school belonging. Findings suggest that GSAs could contribute to attenuating a range of health risks, particularly for LGBTQ youth.
Article
IntroductionMany studies of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth have demonstrated that individuals reporting a bisexual orientation have a particularly high risk of suicidal behavior and substance abuse. It has been also suggested that bisexual individuals (both men and women) have higher rates of depression and anxiety compared with homosexual and heterosexual groups.AimThe aim of the present article was to determine whether or not an association between bisexuality and suicidal behavior exists and to analyze risk factors for suicidal behavior in bisexual individuals.Main Outcome MeasuresThe combined search strategies yielded a total of 339 records screened from PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Knowledge. Duplicate articles, articles that were not in English, and those that did not analyze bisexuality separately from homosexuality were excluded. A quality assessment was performed for each study included.MethodsA careful systematic review of the literature was conducted investigating the potential bisexuality-suicidal behavior link. A total of 77 articles from peer-reviewed journals were considered, and the most relevant (N = 19) were selected for this review.ResultsIndividuals reporting a bisexual orientation had an increased risk of suicide attempts and ideation compared with their homosexual and heterosexual peers. Risk factors included related victimization, peer judgments, and family rejection. Bisexual individuals also reported higher rates of mental illness and substance abuse.Conclusions Bisexual individuals may experience more psychological distress and mental health problems than individuals who identify with a homosexual or heterosexual orientation. Clinicians should consider the potential for suicidal behaviors in bisexual individuals and be alert for increased mental health problems and poor social integration.
Article
This article reports the results of a three-year study focusing on the experiences of a sample of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people in the United Kingdom who were victimized by their peers at school. Data collected from 190 LGBs suggested that experiences of victimization at school were both long-term and systematic, and were perpetrated by groups rather than by individuals. Subsequently, data collected from a sub-sample of 119 participants indicated that over 50 percent had contemplated self-harm or suicide at the time they were being harassed, and that 40 percent had engaged in such behavior at least once. As adults, participants were found to exhibit symptoms associated with negative affect when contrasted with heterosexual and non-victimized LGB peers. Seventeen percent exhibited symptoms associated with PTSD. However, the results also demonstrated that the majority of participants did not differ significantly from comparison groups in terms of self-esteem, and they had a positive attitude towards their sexual orientation. These findings are discussed with reference to the current literature about the development of resilience following exposure to violence and trauma.
Article
ABSTRA C T The mental health problems of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (lgb) youths were studied using a sample of 542 youths from community settings. Information about the development of sexual orientation, problems related to sexual orientation, parents' reactions, and victimization based on sexual orientation was related to mental health symptoms and suicidality. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths were found to demonstrate more symptoms than a comparison group of adolescents. Over one- third of the sample reported a past suicide attempt. More symptoms were related to parents not knowing about youths' sexual orientation or with both parents having negative reactions to youths' sexual orientation. More than three-quarters had been verbally abused because of their sexual orientation, and 15 percent reported physical attacks. More than one-third said they had lost friends because of their sexual orientation. Youths who had experienced more victimization and who had lost friends reported more mental health symptoms. Mental health professionals are urged to attend to the distinct problems of these youths, especially dealing with conflicts with families and peers. KEYW O RDS
Article
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents report disparate rates of substance use, and often consume more cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy than their heterosexual peers. It is therefore crucial to understand the risk factors for substance use among LGB adolescents, particularly those unique to their minority status. In an effort to organize the current knowledge of minority-related risk factors for substance use among LGB youth, this study presents results from a systematic review and meta-analysis of the published research literature. Results from 12 unique studies of LGB youth indicated that the strongest risk factors for substance use were victimization, lack of supportive environments, psychological stress, internalizing/externalizing problem behavior, negative disclosure reactions, and housing status. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for targeted intervention programs that address minority stress risk factors for substance use among LGB youth.
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The first-ever study of its kind, this report chronicles the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) youth in the New York juvenile justice system. This report combines existing social science research and personal interviews with juvenile justice professionals and LGBT youth and reveals that the system is plagued by discrimination and bias against LGBT youth. A major goal of this report is to bring attention to an otherwise largely invisible segment of the juvenile justice population. The research identified six major issues that LGBT youth confront once in the system: a lack of awareness about the existence of LGBT youth and their needs; a lack of appropriate sentencing options appropriate; the safety of detained LGBT youth; professionals who lack expertise and training on how to meet the needs of this population; a lack of specific policies relating to LGBT youth; and a lack of services that are sensitive to the needs of LGBT youth. This report concludes with further recommendations on moving forward, including the formulation of task forces by the city and state juvenile justice agencies. It is suggested that advocates in the juvenile justice and LGBT communities use this report to raise their own awareness and attention to LGBT youth in the system as well as lobby for policy changes to improve the system overall. (Contains 56 references.) (GCP)
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This qualitative investigation studies the impact of belonging to a high school Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA or Alliance) on the lives of seven students in a Salt Lake City (Utah) high school. Individual and focus group interviews were conducted over a 2-year period. The researcher/author used voices of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and straight students to relate the experiences unique to each participant. In addition, data from media and spoken transcripts, video tapes of news reports, grade records, and the GSA advisor's personal observations were analyzed and organized into a framework of seven categories of impact. Results support previous research that Alliances positively impact academic performance, school/social/family relationships, comfort level with sexual orientation, development of strategies to handle assumptions of heterosexuality, sense of physical safety, increased perceived ability to contribute to society, and an enhanced sense of belonging to school community. Implications for educators and questions for further research are included. (Contains 37 references.) (Author/BT)
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Physical, psychological, and social vulnerabilities of sexual minority youth are well documented. Yet factors that protect this population from these risks remain relatively unknown. Previous researchers suggest that (1) a sense of safety, meaningful relationships with others, and positive identity development are protective and (2) social support programs focusing on sexual minority youth (Queer Youth Space) have a positive impact. In this article, Queer Youth Space is explored as a program that may promote protective factors and mediate risks. Theories of attachment, self psychology, and social identity are applied to conceptualize Queer Youth Space and its protective roles. Implications for social work practice and research are discussed.
Article
Victimization and family rejection of sexual orientation are two salient stressors facing gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) young people. While initial research has established a link between these sexuality-related stressors and GLB youths’ mental health outcomes, the factors that underlie this relationship remain unclear. The current study examines the role of negative GLB identity (i.e., negative feelings about one's own sexual orientation) in mediating the relationship between sexuality-related stress (i.e., victimization, family rejection) and youth outcomes (i.e., internalizing problems, substance use, and cigarette smoking). Participants included 81 GLB young people (ages 14 to 25 years) recruited through college groups, youth organizations, study advertisements, and friend referrals. Path analyses revealed that victimization and family rejection experiences were related to youths internalizing problems via negative GLB identity. However, stressors and health risk behaviors were not related through negative GLB identity, although some direct relationships between stressors, substance use, and smoking emerged. Limitations and implications of the present study are discussed.