Abstract: Sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth report higher rates of depression than do their heterosexual and cisgender peers. Although research has found that spiritual/religious beliefs can confer mental health benefits to heterosexual and cisgender adolescents, this relationship is less clear for SGM youth. For example, whereas spiritual/religious beliefs may serve as an important source of comfort for SGM youth, these same beliefs may be used to stigmatize or reject young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), thus creating a potential source of identity conflict. In this talk, we present preliminary findings from a working paper that examines the direct and indirect relationships between maternal, paternal, and religious support and rejection, identity conflict and depression in a sample of 90 SGM youth of color aged 16 – 19 years old (M = 18.5 years; 79.1% Black/African American). Youth reported on their perceptions of depression, maternal and paternal support, communication, and warmth, and the extent to which their religion was a source of comfort, rejection, acceptance and identity conflict. Results suggest that identity conflict is related to depression and that paternal communication may play a particularly complicated role. Future implications for research and clinical practice are discussed.
Alida Bouris, PhD, MSW is an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. In addition, she is Co-Director of the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination and of the Behavioral, Social, and Implementation Sciences Core of the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research. Dr. Bouris’ research focuses on the relationship between social context and adolescent health, with a particular emphasis on understanding how parents and families can help prevent HIV/AIDS among young cisgender men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women of color. In addition, she studies the social-contextual factors associated with poor mental health among LGBTQ youth of color, and how structural inequalities and co-occurring psychosocial problems are linked to health. Dr. Bouris’ research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Ford Foundation. Her current research projects are examining the role of families in supporting the health of younger gay and bisexual men and transgender women at risk for and living with HIV/AIDS, digital media and storytelling interventions, and the development and implementation of social support interventions to improve outcomes along the HIV and PrEP Continuums of Care for young MSM and transgender women.
Sophia Davis is completing a Master’s in Social Work, with a clinical concentration, at the University of Chicago School of Social Services Administration. Sophia is currently a social work intern at the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination (CCHE) and the University of Chicago Medicine Center Adult Infectious Disease (UCMC AID) clinic. At CCHE, Sophia works on planning and staffing a weekly drop-in program for LGBTQ young adults and will be facilitating a support group for LGBTQ young adults of color. At the UCMC AID clinic, Sophia provides emotional support, assistance with medical case management, and referrals to housing and food services for people living with HIV. Prior to graduate school, Sophia worked for over six years in public health consulting, communications, marketing on campaigns to improve HIV prevention and care, sexual health, LGBTQ and minority health. Sophia also sat on the boards of Students Active for Ending Rape and QUEEROCRACY. Sophia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Italian and European Studies from Duke University.
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