Category: Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgender Issues


Developing a Minority Stress Exposure Task

Friday, November 17
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Cobalt 501, Level 5, Cobalt Level

Keywords: L / G / B / T | Stigma | Research Methods
Presentation Type: Symposium

Cognitive and behavioral interventions are being developed to assist LGBTQ people by targeting mediators of the minority stress-psychiatric disorder relationship (Flentje, 2015; Pachankis, 2015). To examine the impact of minority stress across multiple units of analysis and more precisely evaluate the effects of new interventions, the field would benefit from having a validated task for exposing LGBTQ people to minority stress within the laboratory setting. In this study, 31 LGBTQ-identified participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: 1) minority stress-active (MSA); 2) minority stress- neutral (MSN); and 3) Trier Social Stress (TSST; Kirshbaum et al., 1993). In the MSA and MSN conditions participants read a mock newspaper article about a LGBT-community issue that was followed by ‘comments’ left by other ‘readers’ of the paper. In the MSA condition, the comments were prejudiced toward LGBTQ people; comments in the MSN condition were neutral in tone. Ratings of positive and negative affect were taken prior to-, just after, and 20 minutes after the task. Saliva samples were collected prior-to, 20 minutes after, and 50 minutes after the task. Subjects completed the study between 4-7 PM and were screened for confounds that alter salivary cortisol. Data collection is complete and salivary cortisol analysis is ongoing. Following the task, participants were surveyed about their experience. Preliminary results from 27 participants suggest that the MSA and general stress task produced temporary increases in negative affect that subsided after 20 minutes; repeated measures ANOVA reveal a significant main effect for time F(2, 23) = 7.95, p = .002. The time by condition interaction approached statistical significance for positive affect F(4, 46) = 2.02, p = .107. Salivary cortisol results from the first six participants to complete the study indicate that the MSA condition activates the HPA axis as measured by salivary cortisol when applying the well-accepted 15.5% increase above baseline criterion (Miller et al., 2013). Results also provide evidence supporting the validity of the task; implications, limitations, and future directions will be discussed.

Nicholas Heck

Assistant Professor
Marquette University


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Developing a Minority Stress Exposure Task

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