Academic team: Mathijs Lucassen, Louise Wallace, Rajvinder Samra, Alicia Nunez-Garcia
Policing partners: N/A
Status: In progress
Despite rapid social progress, adolescents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/trans, and queer (LGBTQ+ for brevity) often still experience distressing bullying and victimization. Mistreatment and socially hostile environments can negatively impact on their mental and physical health. A pressing public health challenge is addressing the adverse effects of the social violence LGBTQ+ adolescents experience on a day-to-day basis in the United Kingdom (UK).
Typically, adolescents cannot simply leave harmful social environments due to the practical constraints around their schooling and their economic dependence on their families. Many LGBTQ+ adolescents are geographically isolated away from LGBTQ+ charities or support groups clustered in large urban areas and most will not have parents who are LGBTQ+. Further adding to the challenges is that LGBTQ+ adolescents are thought to be ‘coming out’ earlier; as a result, they frequently have not yet had time to develop the more sophisticated social and emotional skills of LGBTQ+ people who come out as young adults. Hence, there is an urgent need for widely accessible and targeted help to assist these adolescents to develop the best possible skills to thrive.
Although LGBTQ+ adolescents are a ‘high risk’ population few research-informed interventions have been developed for them. Coping strategies that are evidence-based for the general population but are fine-tuned with LGBTQ+ adolescents in mind (e.g. with strategies that assist them to manage LGBTQ+ stigma and victimisation) offers considerable potential. This is especially so if they are delivered online in an engaging manner and focus on enhancing coping skills and building resilience.
There are three main objectives for this project: