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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An Exploration of the Personal Impact of Lesbians' Responses to Minority Stress Events: A Phenomenological Study
by Ferguson, Laurie Kathryn, Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2012, 173; 3497183
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to gain a greater understanding of the personal impact of lesbian's responses to buffer gay minority stress. It is well documented that gay persons experience a greater amount of stress than heterosexuals due to their minority status, and have higher proportions of ill effects from that minority stress. There was little insight into how some lesbians who encounter gay minority stress events thrive, while others succumb to the stress and do not function well. Eight lesbians in the greater Green Bay, Wisconsin area, who self-identify as functioning well per their scoring high on the Satisfaction with Life Scale, were interviewed to explore their buffering responses to minority stress events. Nine buffers identified in the literature were used by the participants, as well as an additional buffer that emerged strongly during the study; Opportunity to Educate. The buffers were experienced and described by the participants, with six experienced as enriching, two depleting, and two neutral. They were understood within four minority stress contexts identified by the participants to include hetero-normative, disapproval/harassment, job discrimination, and legally sanctioned discrimination. Acceptance and support by family, friends, and partners was considered highly influential in participant's satisfaction with life. The results should assist mental health professionals working with lesbians who are not functioning well, and aid in the education of mental health practitioners. Future research should include greater cultural, racial, and gender diversity, and should be explored quantitatively to enable generalization.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lafleur, Camille
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 73/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: LGBTQ studies, Clinical psychology, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Coping, Lesbians, Stress
Publication Number: 3497183
ISBN: 978-1-267-17936-4
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