Publication Date

9-20-2018

Document Type

Article

Department

Social Work

Publication Title

Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services

Volume

30

Issue

4

DOI

10.1080/10538720.2018.1509757

First Page

409

Last Page

429

Abstract

This study explored self-described strengths and strategies for coping with stress among sexual minority women (SMW), drawing on qualitative narratives of sexual minority and heterosexual women who were recruited from a population-based sample. In-depth follow-up qualitative telephone interviews were conducted with 48 women who had participated in the National Alcohol Survey, a U.S. population-based survey. Participants included 25 SMW and 16 matched exclusively heterosexual women. Narrative data were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis and constant comparison to explore the study aim, with an emphasis on themes that diverged or that were particularly salient for SMW relative to heterosexual women. Strengths and coping strategies that were especially meaningful in the narratives of sexual minority women emerged in two areas. First, participants described development of intrapersonal strengths through nurturing an authentic sense of self and embracing multifaceted identity. Second, participants described multiple strategies for cultivation of interpersonal resources: navigating distance and closeness with family of origin, cultivating supportive friends and chosen family, connecting to community, finding solace and joy with animals, and engaging in collective action. Findings underscore the importance of considering protective factors that are salient to SMW in developing or refining prevention and intervention efforts.

Keywords

sexual minority women, qualitative, minority stress, resilience, coping

Comments

This article has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, published by Taylor & Francis. The version of record can be found here.

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