Abstract: Resilience Among Lgbtqia+ Youth in out of Home Care- a Scoping Review (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Resilience Among Lgbtqia+ Youth in out of Home Care- a Scoping Review

Friday, January 13, 2023
Valley of the Sun C, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Victor Rodrigo González Álvarez, MSc, PhD candidate, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands

Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, and other sexualities (LGBTQIA+) individuals and communities are exposed to pervasive violence worldwide. Discrimination, harassment, bullying, and denial of services are some of the stressors that LGBTQIA+ populations face, and which are associated with a range of physical and mental negative health outcomes. In the same vein, LGBTQIA+ youth in out-of-home care endure a double burden: the difficulty of leaving their birth families, and the challenges of living in an out-of-home care system that often does not affirm their identities. Research in this field has mainly focused on describing the multiple challenges and negative well-being outcomes among LGBTQIA+ youth in out-of-home care. However, few empirical studies have explored the pathways to resilience for this group.


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.


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 exploratory research questions. We searched and reviewed peer-reviewed, published academic literature and Ph.D. 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.


The search and screening procedure yielded a total of 14 studies. Studies included a broad range of youth in terms of their SOGIESC, 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, caseworkers 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.


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.