The LGBQ Social Climate Matters: Policies, Protests, and Placards and Psychological Well-Being Among LGBQ Emerging Adults

Michael R. Woodford, Megan S. Paceley, Alex Kulick, Jun Sung Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual minority youth, including emerging adults, are at risk for negative health outcomes. Minority stress theory posits that heterosexism can contribute to these outcomes among sexual minorities. Researchers have tested this theory with respect to interpersonal heterosexism; however, little attention has been given to macro-level and environmental forms of heterosexism, especially among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) youth. In this study, we examine the role of objective social climate (LGB state-level policies) and experiential distal and proximal environmental microaggressions on the psychological well-being of LGBQ emerging adults. Furthermore, we examine the role of LGBQ identity salience as a moderating factor on the macro/environmental-heterosexism and well-being relationship. Multivariable linear regression results suggest that living in a state without same-sex marriage laws is associated with greater self-esteem, whereas both distal and proximal environmental microaggressions are risk factors for anxiety and perceived stress. Furthermore, identity salience can ameliorate the effects of distal microaggressions and intensify the effects of proximal microaggressions and same-sex marriage legislation. Implications for practice with sexual minority youth are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-141
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • emerging adults
  • heterosexism
  • mental health
  • microaggressions
  • minority stress
  • resilience
  • same-sex marriage

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