Resilience Among Black Gay and Bisexual Men

photoAPA convention is a great way to obtain continuing education. As an early career psychologist, I find one of the most beneficial things about attending convention is being able to improve my knowledge in areas in which I’ve had limited training during my graduate career. Earlier today, I attended a session sponsored by APA Div. 44 on Resilience in the Face of Minority Stress Among Lesbians, Gay Men and Bisexuals (LGB). The presenters highlighted the importance of resilience in coping with the stigmatizing experiences of LGB individuals.

Highlights from the session:

Patrick Wilson, PhD, of Columbia University, emphasized how young gay black men have significant poor outcomes (e.g., mental health, physical health, substance use, risky sexual behaviors). Dr. Wilson also noted that resilience is a “multideminsonal construct and is context dependent.”

Ilan H. Meyer, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, noted that resilience involves both individual and community-level variables. These variables include things such as community resources, having a sense of belonging, staying connected and living with authenticity.

Nadav Antebi, MA, also from Columbia, identified four important themes related to resilience among young black gay youth based on qualitative research. These themes included:

  • moving forward (e.g., not worrying about the past and focusing on the future)
  • indifference about others’ opinions (e.g., having self-confidence in one’s own actions and beliefs despite others’ stigmatizing views)
  • developing a thick skin
  • stress-related growth, or psychological growth that results from confronting minority stress.

Given the impact of intersecting identities and help-seeking behaviors of men, it is important as a clinical psychologist to be aware of these factors that affect resilience in black gay youth. This session provided a starting point for increasing my awareness of working with this population.

Please contact the researchers for more information about their research.

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