Ecological Factors and Psychological Distress: Understanding LGBT Homeless Youth within Systemic Context

Ecological Factors and Psychological Distress: Understanding LGBT Homeless Youth within Systemic Context

The purpose of this study was to examine an existing data set (Bidell, 2013a) to further explore how specific factors related to LGBT homeless youths’ psychosocial wellbeing and emotional stability. Findings from the initially published study (Bidell, 2013a) and this current analysis were presented at the 1st International Conference on LGBT Psychology and Related Field (Bidell, 2013). LGBT homeless youth (n = 89) were voluntarily recruited at a homeless shelter in New York City and completed a comprehensive demographic/educational survey as well as assessments of psychological distress (Brief Symptom Inventory; Derogatis, 1993) and emotional stability (Self-Description Questionnaire II; Marsh, 1990). The majority of participants reported having clinically elevated psychological distress (66.3%) and almost half (48.3%) reported involvement with child protective services. Significant predictors of psychological distress included stigmatization by a caregiver, not coming out in middle or high school, and being younger. High school completion and experiencing verbal harassment in middle school came close to reaching significance and also predicted a meaningful level of psychological distress. Two predictors (being older and not experiencing stigmatization by a caregiver) significantly and equally predicted higher levels of emotional stability. Ecological systems theory is discussed and used to contextualize these findings.

AUTHORS: Markus P. Bidell
PAGES: 82-88
PUBLISHER: Henrique Pereira & Pedro Costa © University of Beira Interior
PUBLICATION DATE: 2014
LOCATION: New York City, NY, USA