Abstract: Community-Based Social Institutions and the Flourishing of Sexual and Gender Minority Individuals: A Comparative Analysis (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

282P Community-Based Social Institutions and the Flourishing of Sexual and Gender Minority Individuals: A Comparative Analysis

Friday, January 17, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Jedediah Bragg, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Oklahoma
Claudette L. Grinnell-Davis, PhD, MSW, MS, MTS, Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma, Tulsa Campus, Tulsa, OK
Shane Brady, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Statement of the Problem: Research has established that individuals identifying as sexual/gender minority (SGM) have higher levels of depression, substance misuse, and suicidality, indicating significant challenges to hope and human flourishing. For non-SGM individuals, these challenges are mitigated by close relationships. However, for SGM individuals, relationships frequently deteriorate as a result of coming out; thus, it is necessary  to examine the role of community-based social institutions that enhance human flourishing and in turn whether these social institutions work in conjunction with hope. We hypothesize that among those identifying as SGM, positive community-based social institutions will play a larger direct role in affecting hope and flourishing due to the limited nature of familial supports, whereas those identifying as cisgender-heterosexual and wil  are more likely to utilize primarily familial supports.

Subjects Used: An online survey assessing various domains of social support, hope, flourishing, and sexuality (N = 586) was distributed by the primary researcher, the university, and several community partners from across the United States.

Procedure: A multigroup analysis (MGA) covariance-based structural equation model (CB- SEM) was tested using AMOS version 25 exploring the relationship between positive social institutions (both familial and community-based), hope, and flourishing, as well differences between groups: (a) cisgender and exclusively heterosexual (CH) and (b) sexual and gender minority (SGM).

Results:Results of a CB-SEM MGA indicated that the proposed model had adequate fit with the overall given data (X2= 436.140; df = 170, p < .001; RMSEA = .052 [90% CI: .046, .058]; SRMR = .039; CFI = .950; X2/df = 2.566). Further analysis was indicative of significant differences between the two groups (p<.001). In regard to those identifying as CH, the tested model indicated full mediation with positive social institutions and hope serving as large positive predictors of flourishing. Within this population, these results show there is not a statistically significant direct relationship between positive social institutions and overall flourishing. In contrast, for those identifiable as SGM, the model was indicative of partial mediation with positive social intuitions serving as a direct large positive predictor of flourishing and a large indirect positive predictor of flourishing via hope.

Conclusions: The results of this study serve to bolster the concept of positive social institutions driving overall well-being independent of hope. Particularly important is the evidence that positive social institutions not only increase hope among the SGM population, but directly improves overall flourishing. By contrast, among the CH population, positive social institutions indirectly impacts flourishing via hope. With differences in how the constructs of positive social institutions, hope, and flourishing interact with one another based on sexual and gender minority status, the impetus of interventions designed to build and foster inclusivity within social support networks is paramount to helping professionals working with minority populations, such as those identifying as sexual and gender minorities.