Category: Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgender Issues

Symposium

Symposium 74 - A Health Disparity Population: Advances in Research on Stigma and Mental Health Among Bisexual Individuals

Saturday, November 18
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Aqua Salon C & D, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: LGBTQ+ | Stigma | Risk / Vulnerability Factors
Presentation Type: Symposium

Sexual minorities are at increased risk for mental health problems, but most research combines lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals, limiting our understanding of bisexuals’ experiences. Accumulating research suggests that bisexuals experience unique stressors and health disparities, but they remain under-represented in research and existing studies are limited by methodological weaknesses (cross-sectional designs, self-report data, convenience samples). More rigorous research is needed on factors that influence mental health among bisexuals to inform interventions to reduce health disparities.


 


In line with the convention theme, “Applying CBT in Diverse Contexts,” this symposium features cutting-edge research on stigma and mental health among bisexuals. Presentations highlight methodological advances, including diverse methods (qualitative, quantitative), designs (longitudinal, experimental), and samples (cisgender men/women, gender minorities).


 


First, using nationally representative data, Dr. Dodge will demonstrate that bisexuals (especially multi-racial and Midwestern) continue to perceive others as having negative attitudes toward them. Second, using longitudinal data, Dr. Feinstein will demonstrate that being more out is associated with increases in depression and substance use for bisexuals. In contrast, it is associated with decreases in depression for gay/lesbian individuals. Third, Dr. Davila will describe the strategies that bisexuals use to make their bisexuality visible to others and correlates of doing so. Fourth, using an experimental manipulation, Ms. Seager will demonstrate that the consequences of discrimination depend on the perpetrator’s sexual orientation (e.g., bisexuals report more negative affect in response to discrimination from heterosexuals). Finally, Ms. Fehling will demonstrate that bisexuals are more likely to report lifetime/past-year non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and younger onset than gay/lesbian individuals. Further, discrimination and internalized stigma predict lifetime NSSI and associations are mediated by rumination and depression.


 


In sum, this symposium highlights advances in research on stigma and mental health among bisexuals (e.g., nationally representative samples, longitudinal/experimental designs). Despite awareness of societal stigma, many bisexuals still attempt to make their bisexuality visible. However, doing so can have negative consequences. While minority stress contributes to mental health problems among bisexuals, the consequences of discrimination depend on the perpetrator’s sexual orientation. Bisexual health expert, Dr. Wendy Bostwick, will serve as the discussant. She will discuss directions for future research and the need for interventions to reduce stigma and health disparities.

Learning Objectives:

Brian Feinstein

Postdoctoral Scholar
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Brian Feinstein

Wendy Bostwick

University of Illinois at Chicago

Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Wendy Bostwick

    Brian Feinstein

    Postdoctoral Scholar
    Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Brian Feinstein

    Brian Dodge

    Indiana University Center for Sexual Health Promotion

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Brian Dodge

    Joanne Davila

    Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of Clinical Training
    Stony Brook University

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Joanne Davila

    Ilana Seager

    Graduate Student
    The Ohio State University

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Ilana Seager

    Kara B. Fehling

    Graduate Student
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Kara Fehling


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