Research indicates that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) youth and young adults are at greater risk for mental health issues, including low levels of self-acceptance, when compared to heterosexual and cis-gendered peers. Many LGBTQ+ youth and young adults experience stress related to being a sexual minority and have difficulty accepting their sexual identity given non-affirming familial and social lived experiences. One promising approach for working with this population is providing affirmative care within a systems of care framework. This study examines outcomes of LGBTQ+ and cisgender straight allied youth and young adults following participation in iTEAM - an affirming system of care program. Data from 170 iTEAM participants who had both a pre- (intake) and 6-month post follow-up assessment were included in the analyses. Outcomes of interest include self-acceptance, employment, housing stability, and mental health of participants A factor analysis of the Self-Acceptance Scale resulted in four subscales: Self-Confidence, Social Confidence, Interpersonal Confidence, and Locus of Control. Changes from pre- to post-assessment indicate significant increases in overall self-acceptance and the four subscales along with employment and housing stability. Mental health scores improved, but not significantly. For the most part, these positive changes were evidenced for both LGBTQ+ and cisgender straight allied youth. The findings support the value of providing an affirming system of care program for both LGBTQ+ and straight allied youth in the same program setting. Additionally, programs should consider adding a measure of self-acceptance to inform clinical practice.
- Affirming care
- System of care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science