Saturday, January 15, 2022: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Marquis BR Salon 14, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Hyun-Jun Kim, PhD, University of Washington
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals face ongoing health disadvantages. Critical approaches to social work research to understand explanatory mechanisms of health disparities need to address social injustices that these historically, socially, and politically marginalized populations continue to experience. Such approaches can identify distinct needs and strengths of LGBTQ individuals, consider diversity within LGBTQ communities, and apply empirical knowledge gained to social work practice and policies. This symposium employs the Health Equity Promotion Model (HEPM) to address current gaps in empirical research that seeks to explain LGBTQ health disparities and subgroup differences. The HEPM incorporates a life course developmental framework that highlights the importance of understanding historical factors, and social, political, and cultural environments that influence health and well-being across the life course. It also highlights modifiable mechanisms â€“ healthcare utilization, psychological, social, and behavioral processes â€“ that influence health, aging, and well-being in these disadvantaged communities. Data analyzed in this symposium are from two of the first national studies of LGBTQ health and well-being: Aging with Pride: National Health, Aging and Sexuality/Gender Study (NHAS), and Wellness with Pride: COVID-19 and LGBTQ+ Communities. NHAS is an ongoing longitudinal study following 2,450 LGBTQ adults aged 50 and older since 2014. The Wellness with Pride is a study of LGBTQ adults aged 18 and older examining risk and protective factors of health and well-being in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first paper investigated the common and distinct life events and experiences of lesbian and gay midlife and older adults by generation (Invisible; Silenced; Pride). Findings suggest that Pride Generation was significantly more likely to have disclosed their identities at younger ages and experienced higher levels of victimization and discrimination compared to both the Invisible and Silenced Generations. The findings shed light on the importance of considering generation and sexual identity in research for health equity and social justice. The second paper examined and identified key barriers in health care access and utilization by gender identity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings suggest that transgender and gender diverse adults experience elevated barriers to health care, which would exacerbate existing health disparities. The third paper examined patterns of health behaviors among LGBTQ+ midlife and older adults, which are key predictors of health and well-being. A latent class analysis determined five classes. The findings suggest that whereas the majority of LGBTQ+ midlife and older adults have good health behavior management, targeted interventions are needed for those in higher risk classes. The fourth paper examined predictors of physical functioning among LGBTQ+ midlife and older adults living with cognitive impairment. The findings suggest that enhancing access to community resources and participation in physical, social, community, and recreational activities could improve their physical functioning. Many of the risk and protective factors examined in these papers are modifiable. Findings are translatable for the development and implementation of culturally responsive, evidence-based practice interventions and policies in LGBTQ+ communities, essential to the promotion of health equity and social justice.
* noted as presenting author
See more of: Symposia