Objective: The current study aims to review the scope of empirical research on resilience among LGBTQIA+ youth in out-of-home care. The general research question is: What is known about the resilience of LGBTQIA+ children and youth in CPS? Obtaining an overview of current resilience research among LGBTQIA+ youth in out-of-home care will stimulate further necessary research and potentially inform resilience interventions at different levels.
Method: We carried out a scoping review, which is a type of knowledge synthesis that aims to map key concepts and types of evidence to answer and exploratory research questions. We searched and reviewed peer-reviewed, published academic literature and PhD dissertations on resilience among LGBTQIA+ youth in out-of-home care. Specifically, we explored: 1) theoretical and methodological approaches to resilience, and 2) resilience factors and/or processes.
Results: The search and screening procedure yielded a total of 14 studies. Studies included a broad range of youth in terms of their identities, out-of-home care placement, and race and ethnicity. Most studies were peer review published articles using a qualitative approach with a cross sectional design. Few studies used resilience theories as frameworks of analysis. The way studies measured resilience was in most studies through open questions, yet few studies described the specific questions used. The resilience factors and processes described were organized in three levels: individual level (e.g self-efficacy, faith and spirituality, self relying strategies), relational level (e.g foster family acceptance, social support, case workers competencies) and social (e.g health care services, access to LGBTQIA+ affirming care organizations). While studies focused on relational level resilience factors and processes, social/systemic, and individual/psychological factors were less studied.
Discussion: Findings show that resilience in LGBTQIA+ in out-of-home care is an understudied topic. We describe several specific gaps in the existing studies. Although research has located resilience factors and processes that operate at a relational level, more research is needed on individual/psychological factors and processes and, on social/systemic factors and processes. The use of mostly cross-sectional and resilience atheoretical studies are also important limitations for the reviewed studies. Additionally, quantitative and mixed method studies are also needed to complement the current mostly qualitative literature. We offer specific suggestions and implications for future research and implications for the practice arena.