Watson, Ryan (2014). Inquiries into sexual minority youth and young adults over time and across cultures.
Sexual minorities or those minoritized as a result of the expressed or assumed sexual orientations and identities (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer), by virtue of their sometimes stigmatized identities, oftentimes report deleterious and unprovoked experiences of harassment, victimization, and prejudice. For several decades, research has confirmed that lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals are at high risk for maladaptive outcomes, including higher rates of suicidality, depression, substance use and abuse, and anxiety disorders. The goal of this dissertation was to 1) document and compare these disparities across two cultures, 2) disentangle social support systems that are important to sexual minorities, and 3) identify factors that best protect sexual minorities against the effects of bias-based bullying. Large datasets were used to compare, understand, and trace the processes of interpersonal relational support on adjustment for sexual minorities. Specifically, different cultural normativities were hypothesized to explain differences in adjustment across culture, parent support was hypothesized to be most associated with lower depression and higher self-esteem, and parent acceptance was expected to buffer the relation between bias-based bullying and depression for sexual minorities. These expectations were generally supported and demonstrate the clear role that parents and friends contribute to mental health for sexual minorities. Implications for future research, parents, teachers, and other stakeholders are discussed in different contexts of sexual minority adjustment.
Family & Consumer Sciences
Russell, Stephen T.
The University of Arizona