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dc.contributor.advisorTreharne, Gareth
dc.contributor.authorTaylor, Oscar
dc.identifier.citationTaylor, O. (2019). ‘Thrown to the Wolves’: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth’s Perceptions of their Mental Health Experiences and Support (Thesis, Master of Science). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractYouth with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) identities are over-represented in negative mental health statistics. Current literature indicates support for mental health difficulties is difficult for LGBTQ youth to access, and even when support can be accessed it often does not cater to the needs of LGBTQ youth. Therefore, it is important to understand LGBTQ youth’s perspectives on their mental health and their ability to access support, in order to understand these health disparities in greater detail and influence change in this area. The aim of the present thesis was to obtain an in-depth insight into LGBTQ youth’s perspectives on their mental health experiences and support using a qualitative research design. Forty-six people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities aged between 17 and 30 participated in one of eleven focus groups, where they were asked about their experiences of coming out, discrimination, mental health, and the support available to LGBTQ youth across various contexts. Each group was conducted by one of four facilitators who would describe their identity to the group before proceeding with questions. Focus groups were recorded and transcribed so that they could be analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Two themes were identified each with two subthemes and were conceptualised using a model explaining LGBTQ youth’s experiences of mental health. The first theme ‘Negative well-being as a normative and isolating experience for LGBTQ youth’ explains how LGBTQ youth perceived negative well-being as a ‘normal’ experience for LGBTQ youth because of feelings of isolation. This theme consisted of two subthemes: ‘Discrimination isolates LGBTQ youth’ which details the discrimination faced by LGBTQ youth, and ‘Difficulties accessing support for LGBTQ youth’ which highlights how support for LGBTQ youth is limited and often inaccessible. The second theme ‘Positive well-being and LGBTQ awareness’ identifies how LGBTQ perceived increased awareness of LGBTQ people and identities as having a positive effect on mental health and well-being. This theme consisted of two subthemes: ‘Connection with other LGBTQ people’ which explains how other LGBTQ people positively affect LGBTQ youth’s mental health and well-being, and ‘Need for further education’, which describes how LGBTQ youth identified a need for more LGBTQ education in order to improve LGBTQ youth’s mental health and well-being. These findings provide an in-depth account of LGBTQ youth’s mental health experiences and suggest that support for any difficulties is lacking and non-affirming support may even worsen LGBTQ youth’s mental health. The findings also demonstrate why improved LGBTQ mental health support is needed in both educational and clinical settings in order to improve the mental health of LGBTQ youth in New Zealand.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.subjectMental Health
dc.title"Thrown to the Wolves": Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth's Perceptions of their Mental Health Experiences and Support
dc.language.rfc3066en of Psychology of Science of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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