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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Social Identity Integration, Parental Response, and Psychological Outcomes among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer South Asian Americans

  • Author(s): Kishore, Saanjh Aakash
  • Advisor(s): Myers, Hector F
  • Lau, Anna
  • et al.

The goal of this study is to understand how social identities are integrated across domains of identity. Focusing on a population in which cultural norms dictate sexuality behaviors as a condition of ethnic membership, the study examines how South Asian LGBQ Americans integrate their ethnic and sexual orientation identities, and also examines the role of this dual social identity integration in the relationship between the distal stress of parental responses to LGBQ identity, the proximal stress of internalized homophobia, and mental health outcomes. One-hundred and twenty-five (125) self-identified South Asian LGBQ Americans were recruited from across the U.S. for participation in an online survey. Participants completed a battery of self-report measures, including: (1) ethnic identity and LGBQ identity versions of the Collective Self-Esteem Scale (CSE, Luhtanen & Crocker, 1992), which assessed membership, private regard, public regard, and the importance of each identity domain; (2) an adapted version of the Bicultural Identity Integration Scale version 2 (BII-2, Huynh, 2009; Benet- Martínez & Haritatos, 2005) that assessed the dual identity integration of sexual orientation and ethnic identities; (3) an assessment of internalized homophobia (Herek, Cogan, Gillis, & Glunt, 1997), (4) parental support and rejection of LGBQ identity; and (5) life satisfaction (World Health Organization), as well as depression, anxiety, and stress (DASS-21, Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995; Antony, Bieling, Cox, Enns, & Swinson, 1998). Results indicated that the BII-2 can be adapted to assess dual identity integration, and suggested that parental expressions of support and rejection predict dual identity Harmony while sexual orientation and ethnic identity predicted dual identity Blendedness. Internalized homophobia partially mediated the relationship between Parental Distress and Harmony, and was identified as a negative predictor of Blendedness. Parental rejection predicted psychological distress, while parental support predicted life satisfaction. Strong sexual orientation identity was associated with lower symptoms of distress, while strong ethnic identity was associated with greater life satisfaction. Higher internalized homophobia partially mediated the relationship between parental rejection and psychological distress, but was not associated with life satisfaction. Neither dual identity Harmony nor dual identity Blendedness predicted either of these mental health outcomes, suggesting that the context-based approach to bicultural integration may also extend to dual identity integration across categories of social identity. Implications of these findings for future research and for intervention are discussed.

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