Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals, and those who otherwise identify as a minority in terms of affectional orientation and gender expression identity (LGBTQ+) have a higher rate of mental health concerns than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts (Meyer, 2003). Young adulthood is a difficult time for individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ as internal identity development processes coincide with stressors from the outside world. The conflict between intrapersonal and interpersonal pressures may evoke a multitude of negative emotions such as anxiety, loneliness, isolation, fear, anger, resentment, shame, guilt, and fear. One difficult task that triggers these depreciating sentiments is the task of managing the process of coming out during LGBTQ+ young adulthood. The tumultuous, transformative coming out process prompts stressors that may cause the increase of mental health concerns for the LGBTQ+ population. Although counselors recognize the need and lack of counselor competency to assist LGBTQ+ individuals, there is limited (a) client-based outcome research and (b) intervention research to assert the efficacy of methods to assist LGBTQ+ young adults during the coming out process. Specifically, no studies were found that examined the efficacy of a group counseling intervention to assist LGBTQ+ young adults through the coming out process. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of a strengths-based coming out group counseling intervention on LGBTQ+ young adults’ (ages 18-24) levels of coping, appraisal of social support, and coming out growth. In an effort to contribute to the knowledgebase in the fields of counseling and counselor education, the researcher examined (a) if a strengths-based group counseling intervention influences LGBTQ+ young adults’ levels of coping (as measured by the Brief COPE [Carver, 1997]), social support (as measured by the Social Support Questionnaire-6 [Sarason, Sarason, Shearin, & Pierce, 1987]), and coming out growth (as measured by the Coming Out Growth Scale [Vaughan & Waehler, 2010]) over time; (b) the potential relationship between the outcome variables and group therapeutic factors (Therapeutic Factors Inventory–Short Form [TFI-S]; Joyce et al., 2011); and (c) the potential relationship between the outcome variables and the participants’ demographic data (e.g., age, affectional orientation, level of outness). A one-group, pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design was utilized in this study. Participants received an eight-hour group counseling intervention divided in to four two-hour sessions. The counseling groups were offered at the University of Central Florida’s Community Counseling and Research Center (CCRC). There were three data collection points: (a) prior to the first session, (b) after the second session, and (c) at the end of the last session. The final sample size included 26 LGBTQ+ participants. The research questions were examined using: (a) Repeated Measures Multivariate Analysis of Variance (RM-MANOVA), (b) MANOVA, (c) Canonical correlation, (d) Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), (e) Pearson Product Moment Correlations, and (f) Cronbach’s alpha reliability analysis. The RM-MANOVA results identified a multivariate within-subjects effect across time (Wilks’ λ = .15; F (12, 14) = 6.77, p < .001) and 84% of the variance was accounted for by this effect. Analysis of univariate tests indicated that Social Support Number (F [1.63, 68.18] = 13.94, p < .01; partial ƞ² = .25), Social Support Satisfaction (F [2, 50] = 10.35, p < .001; partial ƞ² = .29), Individualistic Growth (F [2, 50] = 8.22, p < .01; partial ƞ² = .25), and Collectivistic Growth (F [2, 50] = 9.85, p < .001; partial ƞ² = .28) exhibited change over time. Additionally, relationships were identified between the outcome variables of Individualistic Growth, Adaptive Coping, and Collectivistic Growth and the group therapeutic factors of Secure Emotional Expression, Awareness of Relational Impact, and Social Learning. Furthermore, age of questioning was positively correlated with Collectivistic Growth. In addition to a literature review, the research methods and statistical results are provided. Results of the investigation are reviewed and compared to previous research findings. Further, areas for future research, limitations of the study, and implications for the counseling and counselor education are presented. Implications of the study’s findings include: (a) support for the use of a strengths-based group counseling intervention in order to increase social support and coming out growth in LGBTQ+ young adults, (b) empirical evidence of a counseling strategy promoting positive therapeutic outcomes with LGBTQ+ college age clients, and (c) verification of the importance of group therapeutic factors in effective group counseling interventions.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Education; Counselor Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Ali, Shainna, "The impact of a strengths-based group counseling intervention on LGBTQ+ young adult's coping, social support, and coming out growth" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 4890.