Daily Online Experiences of Marginalization Stress and Social Support for LGBTQIA+ Young Adults
LGBTQIA+ young adults face systemic and interpersonal marginalization and minoritization. These experiences occur not only in offline spaces but also in online contexts. However, online contexts also allow for LGBTQIA+ individuals to access social support that extends and bolsters the support they may receive offline. Previous studies tend to examine the relation between stress and support for LGBTQIA+ individuals using cross-sectional methods, despite the emphasis of previous theories such as minority stress theory on the occurrence of stressors on a daily, cumulative basis. The current study investigated how daily online marginalization stress experiences related to online experiences of social support for LGBTQIA+ young adults. Participants included 177 young adults, ages 18-29 and who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Participants completed baseline measures of demographics, lifetime experiences of marginalization stress, social media use and attitudes, perception of online social support, self-esteem, and mental health symptoms. Next, participants were prompted twice daily for 21 days to complete a survey about online marginalization stress experiences, general and LGBTQIA+-specific online social support experiences, and positive and negative affect. Finally, participants completed a follow-up survey measuring internalized stigma, community connectedness, self-esteem, and mental health symptoms.
Results suggested that online marginalization stress was related to daily affect but not to follow-up well-being outcomes. Online marginalization stress was also related to online general social support, but not LGBTQIA+-specific online support. General social support online was related to higher positive affect and lower negative affect, and LGBTQIA+-specific online support was related to higher positive affect, but both types of online social support were generally unrelated to follow-up outcomes. Low marginalization stress and low general social support together were associated with higher internalized stigma and lower self-esteem at follow-up. Differences in these effects generally emerged for individuals with marginalized sexual orientations and less so for individuals with marginalized gender identities. The results of the study suggest that daily online marginalization stress experiences are likely related to online social support, and that online social support is beneficial for daily affect. However, online social support may not be particularly beneficial for ameliorating the effects of online marginalization stress on affect or well-being.
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Psychological Sciences
- West Lafayette