LGBT-specific sources of support and the mental health of young lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) women
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 4:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Social support and social networks are particularly important for lesbian/gay and bisexual (LGB) women in light of the disproportionate rates of depression and anxiety affecting these populations. Using a cross-sectional sample of young LGB women living in Michigan (N=164; 18-24 years old), we explored the relationship of four social support and social network constructs (i.e., parent support, peer support; LGBT community participation and connectedness) with psychological well-being (i.e., depression and anxiety symptoms). We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine if internalized homophobia (IH), a marker of sexual minority stress, mediated the relationship between these constructs and depression or anxiety, respectively. IH was negatively associated with parent support, and positively associated with LGBT community participation as well as with depression and anxiety symptoms, respectively. We found no direct or indirect effects of peer support or LGBT community connectedness on IH. We also did not find an association between the social support and social network constructs on depression or anxiety. We discuss the protective effects of parent support in reducing IH among LGB women, especially as it relates to mental distress. We also highlight the need to re-examine how we measure social support and social network characteristics in research, and to re-evaluate the implications of LGBT-specific community participation and identification for LGB women's mental health.
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe the mental health disparities affecting sexual minority women.
Evaluate the different types of social support/network measures used in research.
Discuss the significance of social support for the well-being of sexual minority women.
Keyword(s): Women's Health, Sexuality
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student with public health research and practice experience in minority health, including sexual minority health. Among my scientic interests has been the role of social support and social networks in the well-being of LGBT populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.