Discrimination, Social Support, and Internalizing Symptoms Among Asian-Pacific Islander Lesbian. Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Individuals: Exploring Intersectionality and Ecological Systems of Support

Kenji Takeda, Pace University

Abstract

Asian-Pacific Islander (API) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) individuals have unique mental health needs due to the intersections of their stigmatized racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender identities, as well as due to the underutilization of mental health services and cultural variations in symptom expression among the API population in general. Using intersectionality and ecological systems theories, this online survey study aimed to contribute to our understanding of this understudied population by exploring the links between discrimination and internalizing symptoms, as well as potential protective functions of social support, among a sample of API LGBTQQ adults. A total of 544 adults were included in the analytic sample. Correlation and regression analyses were used to investigate associations among five forms of discrimination (i.e., heterosexism, racism, and intersectional discrimination including racism in LGBTQQ communities, heterosexism in racial/ethnic minority communities, and racism in dating and close relationships), three types of internalizing symptoms (i.e., anxiety, depression, and somatization), and four types of social support (i.e., general social support, acceptance for sexual orientation/gender identity, frequency of conversations about discrimination, degree of satisfaction with conversations about discrimination) from eight sources (i.e., mother, father, siblings, significant other, and friends who are: API and LGBTQQ, API but not LGBTQQ, LGBTQQ but not API; neither API nor LGBTQQ). Overall. results indicated that there were strong associations of greater discrimination with greater internalizing symptoms, most strongly with somatization symptoms. There were also some associations of certain types of social support with less internalizing symptoms, with acceptance for sexual orientation/gender identity being most consistently associated with less internalizing symptoms. Support from significant other was the only social support source negatively associated with all internalizing symptoms, with findings for the other social support sources more mixed and inconsistent. Unexpectedly. greater frequency of conversations about discrimination was strongly associated with greater internalizing symptoms, and social support was not found to buffer associations of discrimination with internalizing symptoms. Instead, findings indicated that associations between discrimination and internalizing symptoms were even stronger at higher levels of certain types of social support. Further analyses also suggested that social support has weaker associations with lower internalizing symptoms among those who have experienced higher levels of discrimination. Implications of these findings include the need to reduce societal discrimination, the importance of providing social support specific to sexual orientation and/or gender identity, the need for future research to continue to examine the complex and multifaceted nature of social support and its consequences, and the importance of attending to somatization symptoms as a unique manifestation of discrimination experiences among API LGBTQQ individuals.^

Subject Area

LGBTQ studies|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Takeda, Kenji, "Discrimination, Social Support, and Internalizing Symptoms Among Asian-Pacific Islander Lesbian. Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Individuals: Exploring Intersectionality and Ecological Systems of Support" (2017). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI10742446.
https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI10742446

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