The Development of a Brief Online Intervention to Increase Parents’ Self-Efficacy and Intentions for Sexual Minority-Supportive Parenting
Sexual minority youth face mental health disparities compared to their heterosexual peers, including higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, and substance use. Parent support serves as a top predictive factor of mental health outcomes for sexual minority youth, but there are few psychological resources available to increase support. The first phase of this study involved the development of the Parent Resource for Increasing Sexual Minority Support (PRISMS), a brief online intervention for parents of sexual minority youth ages 13-18. Development of the PRISMS intervention was informed by psychological research about increasing parental self-efficacy and behavioral intentions for supportive parenting practices—two predictors of supportive behaviors—as well as interviews with parents of sexual minority individuals, usability testing, and feedback from researchers and practitioners with expertise in relevant areas. The second phase of this study involved testing the efficacy of the PRISMS intervention for increasing parental self-efficacy and behavioral intentions for sexual minority-supportive parenting practices, and assessing the acceptability of the intervention. Two-hundred-nineteen participants completed the study, and two analyses of covariance were performed. Results indicated that PRISMS significantly increased parental self-efficacy for sexual minority-supportive parenting practices compared to a control, F(1, 215) = 5.15, p = .024, but did not increase behavioral intentions F (1, 216) = .88, p = .350. An exploratory analysis using an independent samples t-test suggested that parents who were the most distressed about their child’s sexual orientation experienced gains in behavioral intentions (t = -2.17, p = .030), but further research is needed to assess this effect. Results also suggested that the PRISMS intervention was acceptable in terms of credibility, participant affect at post-test, and overall satisfaction at a level comparable to treatment as usual. Implications for research and practice are discussed. In total, the PRISMS intervention serves as a promising tool for increasing a key predictor of parent support for sexual minority youth.