Black Sexual Minority Women’s Social Well-Being and Psychological Distress

Shemeka Thorpe, Natalie Malone, Candice N. Hargons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Black sexual minority women (SMW), the largest racial group among the sexual minority community, often report high psychological distress and decreased psychological health and social well-being. Strong, positive, social relationships positive within group identities, and support networks are a key component in coping with minority stressors and promoting overall well-being. This study explored the association between minority stressors, social support, and Black SMW’s social well-being and psychological distress. Participants consisted of individuals identifying as Black (including biracial identities, n = 48) cisgender women (N = 149) who responded to the Generations Study’s initial round of surveys collected in 2016–2017. Participants were between the ages of 18–60, with a mean of 29.3 years old. Descriptive and bivariate correlations were conducted for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) stigma, internalized homophobia, gender presentation, ethnic identity affiliation, LGB community connectedness, and social support.Multiple regressionmodels were conducted to analyze correlates of socialwell-being and psychological distress, controlling for age and education level. LGB stigma and internalized homophobia were significant predictors of social well-being and psychological distress. Low internalized homophobia, distress, and stigma were associated with higher social well-being as were high connection to LGB and ethnic communities. Implications for therapy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-515
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Volume92
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Generations Study was funded by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (No. 1R01HD078526) and through supplemental grants from the National Institutes of Health Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and Office of Research on Women’s Health. The Generations investigators are Ilan H. Meyer, PhD (PI); David M. Frost, PhD; Phillip L. Hammack, PhD; Marguerita Lightfoot, PhD; Stephen T. Russell, PhD; and Bianca D. M. Wilson, PhD (all coinvestigators and listed alphabetically). The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice

Keywords

  • Black sexual minority women
  • Intersectional
  • Minority stress theory
  • Psychological distress
  • Social well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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