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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4040.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 9:10 AM

Abstract #109102

Mental health and social support on the “Down Low”: Life history research as a positive LGBTQ youth development intervention

Dorinda L. Welle, PhD, Daniel Mauk, MPH, Glen Barnard, MSW, Sebastian Fuller, MA, Damaris Wortes, BA, Sherry Adams, BA, Kristine Ziek, BA, and Michael C. Clatts, PhD. Institute for International Research on Youth at RIsk, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., 71 West 23rd Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10010, 212-845-4504, welle@ndri.org

LGBTQ youth face significant challenges in accessing available targeted mental health services and social support services. Barriers to access and retention in services are particularly significant for youth struggling with identity disclosure who may not wish to be publicly identified with “LGBTQ” services, and youth of color and low-income youth who may be reluctant to seek services in white, middle class neighborhoods where many services are located.

Reporting findings from a 4-year longitudinal ethnographic and life history study of developmental complexity among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and queer-identified youth in New York City, we demonstrate how explicitly non-interventionist life history and ethnographic methodologies and research relationships can serve to support positive youth development in the lives of LGBTQ youth research participants. Detailing how findings from each wave of data collection informed the design of subsequent interviews, we identify the “evidence-based” nature of this approach to tracking and documenting LGBTQ youth development. To illustrate the potential of life history and ethnographic research as a positive youth development intervention, we present findings from the final research interview in which LGBTQ youth participants describe their own perspectives on their experience of research participation. For many, research participation presents an opportunity to explore developmental issues in a non-judgemental, confidential environment.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, the participant will be able to

Keywords: Interventions, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

LGBT Youth Research

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA