Event Title

Review of Factors impacting Mental Health of LGBT Individuals following Sexual Violence

Presenter Information

Priyanshi Chhabra

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Faculty Mentor

Dr. Adam McGuire

Document Type

Poster Presentation

Date of Publication

2021

Abstract

Extensive research has been done on sexual violence and post-victimization experiences; however, little is known about its prevalence and impact on LGBT individuals. Studies have shown that individuals who tend to deviate from the acceptable heterosexual and cisgender norms are more likely to be victims of sexual violence as an attempt by the society to maintain unequal gender roles. This poster reviewed the literature to examine the impact of stigma and low social support on the mental health of LGBT individuals following sexual violence. It was found that social conditions—invisibility, isolation, and discrimination—significantly impact the experiences of LGBT sexual assault survivors. Fear of rejection and isolation from family and friends and being a potential target of homophobia by service providers, law enforcement, and health care professionals, are revealed to be some of the major barriers that LGBT individuals face when seeking help after sexual violence. Lack of social support was linked with higher levels of mental health problems, depression, suicidal ideation, drug use, and anxiety in LGBT adolescents. Results highlight an apparent gap in research in part because most of it is non-empirical in nature, thus calling for data-based research. Further, most studies assumed the participants to be heterosexual and did not assess for different sexual orientations. Measurement tools developed in recent years are likely to be low on reliability and require replication. Last, randomization is difficult within this population as data for participants who have not come out yet or are questioning their identity is lacking. Future research is needed in these areas to better understand the unique experiences of LGBT individuals.

Keywords

LGBT, Sexual Violence, Stigma and Social Support

Persistent Identifier

http://hdl.handle.net/10950/3003

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Review of Factors impacting Mental Health of LGBT Individuals following Sexual Violence

Extensive research has been done on sexual violence and post-victimization experiences; however, little is known about its prevalence and impact on LGBT individuals. Studies have shown that individuals who tend to deviate from the acceptable heterosexual and cisgender norms are more likely to be victims of sexual violence as an attempt by the society to maintain unequal gender roles. This poster reviewed the literature to examine the impact of stigma and low social support on the mental health of LGBT individuals following sexual violence. It was found that social conditions—invisibility, isolation, and discrimination—significantly impact the experiences of LGBT sexual assault survivors. Fear of rejection and isolation from family and friends and being a potential target of homophobia by service providers, law enforcement, and health care professionals, are revealed to be some of the major barriers that LGBT individuals face when seeking help after sexual violence. Lack of social support was linked with higher levels of mental health problems, depression, suicidal ideation, drug use, and anxiety in LGBT adolescents. Results highlight an apparent gap in research in part because most of it is non-empirical in nature, thus calling for data-based research. Further, most studies assumed the participants to be heterosexual and did not assess for different sexual orientations. Measurement tools developed in recent years are likely to be low on reliability and require replication. Last, randomization is difficult within this population as data for participants who have not come out yet or are questioning their identity is lacking. Future research is needed in these areas to better understand the unique experiences of LGBT individuals.