Minority Stress, Sexual Minorities and Psychological Wellbeing: Implications for Positive Psychology

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Domm, Jessica (2017) Minority Stress, Sexual Minorities and Psychological Wellbeing: Implications for Positive Psychology. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.

Abstract

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals experience poorer mental and physical health compared with heterosexuals. Minority stress has been posited as the mechanism by which sexual minorities incur a range of detrimental experiences. This study aimed to identify which of these minority stressors would be uniquely related to psychological distress when examined concurrently within an Australian LGB population. Of a range of minority stressors, it was found that increased vigilance was positively associated with anxiety and stress, and that isolation was associated with increased depression and lowered self-esteem. Notably, gender expression concerns were positively associated with depression, anxiety, stress, and negatively with self-esteem. Despite such negative outcomes, a positive psychology framework offers that sexual minorities tend to develop a range of strengths that serve not only to buffer minority stress, but also promote personal growth for LGB individuals and communities. This study investigated whether eudaimonic wellbeing, as distinct from hedonic wellbeing, would be identified as having a psychologically protective function in line with a strengths-based approach. Evidence was found to support this hypothesis, with engagement in eudaimonic activities coinciding with less depression given a condition of isolation. Toward explaining this occurrence, it was further proposed that self-esteem mediate the relationship between eudaimonia and depression. Supporting this proposal, it was found that higher levels of eudaimonia were related to higher self-esteem, which in turn coincided with less depression. These findings should help to guide practitioners in providing interventions toward psychological wellbeing for LGB people that promote strengths alongside treatment of psychological distress. Eudaimonia is offered as an effective conceptual framework for working with LGB people to promote psychological wellbeing, in part through enhancing self-esteem.

Additional Information

Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
URI http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/36776
Subjects Current > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Current > Division/Research > College of Health and Biomedicine
Keywords psychological wellbeing, minority stress, Australia, LGB population, eudaimonia, self-esteem, depression
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