Date of Award

8-13-2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Cirleen DeBlaere, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Don Davis, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Arlene Noriega, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Melissa Zeligman, Ph.D.

Abstract

The National Institute for Health has designated racial/ethnic minorities and sexual and gender minorities as health disparities populations. Researchers usually examine both of these groups independently of each other and fail to account for membership in both racial/ethnic and sexual and gender minority groups. Only recently have researchers begun attending to individuals living at the intersection of both health disparities groups. For example, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP, 2015) examined incidents of hate and violence in 2015. They found that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans (LGBT) People of Color (PoC) were twice as likely to experience physical violence compared to their white LGBT counterparts. Increasingly, empirical studies have started to focus on specific racial/ethnic groups that are part of the LGBT community. For example, scholars have found that Latinx sexual minority men are at higher risk for health disparities given the intersectional forms of oppression they experience due to poverty, racism, and homophobia (e.g., Díaz, Ayala, Bein, Henne, & Marin, 2001). This study seeks to highlight and centralize the experiences of Latinx sexual minority men. Chapter 1 provides a synthesis and overview of relevant articles as categorized into themes: Latinx cultural factors (i.e., family, immigration and acculturation, machismo, religion, and coming out/identity development), discrimination (i.e., minority stress and the Orlando Nightclub Pulse shooting), and HIV/AIDS. Chapter 2 is a quantitative study of the minority stress psychological mediation framework (Hatzenbuehler, 2009) with a sample of 357 Latinx sexual minority men recruited using Amazon Mechnical Turk. The minority stress psychological mediation framework proposes that experiencing discrimination affects three psychological processes (i.e., affective/coping, cognitive, social support processes) that are linked to mental health (e.g., Meyer, 1995) and substance use (e.g., Lea, de Wit, & Reynolds, 2014). This cross-sectional study examined descriptive statistics, bivariate correlations, Cronbach’s alpha, means, standard deviations, and several structural equation models to explore the relationships of the variables and determine model fit. Eighteen structural equation models were tested assessing for experiences of minority stress within the past year, lifetime, and appraisal of stress in its links to mental health and substance use (and alcohol use alone) via affective/coping, cognitive, and social processes. Acculturation was also examined as a covariate on the outcome variables. The hypotheses were partially supported. Generally, all the structural models provided good fit to the data. Affective and cognitive processes emerged as a mediator in the relationship between recent, lifetime, and appraisal minority stress to psychological distress. Whereas, for the relationships between recent, lifetime, and appraisal minority stress to substance use only affective processes was a significant mediator. Implications of the results, future directions, and clinical recommendations are discussed.

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