stigma, dialectical tensions, boundary spanning, gay men
This study examined how stigma and dialectical tensions affect information sharing by gay men. One specific area that was investigated is the use of interpersonal boundary spanning techniques in managing information related to being gay. The research used a qualitative, interpretive method to gather and analyze data from eleven in-depth interviews. An interview schedule was developed based on the critical incident technique in order to focus the interviews on specific events and direct observation. The questions in the interview covered individuals experiences with sharing their sexual orientation with someone else for the first time, times when they have specifically chosen to share or not share their orientation, boundaries that exist between the GLBT community and the larger community in which it resides, and techniques used when sharing general information about being gay. The data was analyzed for relational themes described by Owen (1984) as those that emerge through recurrence, repetition, and forcefulness. The themes that emerged were how stigma affects coming out both initially and continuously, managing stigma and dialectical tension, and techniques used in interpersonal boundary spanning. Two major contributions emerged: the relationship between stigma and intrapersonal dialectical tensions, and interpersonal boundary spanning. Stigma can change how easy it is to manage intrapersonal dialectical tensions, such as a normal-different tension. Interpersonal boundary spanning can help the stigmatized individual to demonstrate his normality, and interpersonal boundary spanning helps to reduce stereotyping and negative perception of the stigmatized group.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Nicholson School of Communication
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Shephard, Kathryn, "How Stigma Affects Information Sharing By Gay Men And Glbt Communities" (2008). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3493.