Stigma and the Health of Sexual Minorities:
Why minority stress still matters in a more accepting social climate
The past decade has witnessed significant improvements in the social and policy climate surrounding the lives of sexual minorities (i.e., people who identify as lesbian, gay, and bisexual). Despite these important changes, sexual minorities continue to experience physical and mental health problems at rates higher than their heterosexual peers. Predominant psychological frameworks assert that these heath disparities are caused by exposure to social stress stemming from stigma, prejudice, and discrimination perpetrated against sexual minorities. However, if this “minority stress” is indeed on the decline as society is becoming more accepting of sexual minorities, why do health disparities persist? I will review evidence from recent and ongoing research targeted at addressing this broad question.
Specific attention will be paid to:
- the psychological mechanisms though which minority stress impacts the health of sexual minorities;
- the relational factors that potentially amplify the impact of minority stress on health; and
- how generational differences in sexual identity and minority stress create challenges for psychological and public health interventions focused on improving sexual minority health.
Dr David Frost
School of Psychology, University of Surrey
4.00pm to 5.00pm in 01AC02