First Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University

Second Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Meet & Greet Poster Reception (Harborside)

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Mental & Physical Health

Relevance

This proposal relates to the “HEART” and “HEALTH” strands of the conference by providing educators and other professionals with institutionalized resources that can be used to provide a positive campus climate and combat the health disparities that sexually and gender diverse individuals may face.

Brief Program Description

Substance abuse is an unfortunate but commonly used escape for many LGBT youth as they lack resources to help address anxiety and trauma. When faced with a constant state of fear of violence and identity concealment many turn to drugs or suicide. This session will provide information on addressing LGBT youth substance abuse and creating an inclusive campus climate.

Summary

Campus climates for gender and sexual minorities (GSM) are often hotspots for experiences of victimization, bullying, and homophobia due to school policies, heterosexism, and restrained relationships with parents. These unique and chronic stressors often lead to LGBT youth forming their own social community that they utilize to find their identity and advocate for their needs on campus. While this social community provides an opportunity to seek individual freedom it also through ‘gay parties’ has socialized gender and sexually diverse students to utilize alcohol and other drugs to cope with minority stress and psychological distress.

While psychoactive drug use within the GSM community is an important element of pleasure used to escape heteronormative parties and mediate the stigma and shame around homosexuality it also opens the door for harder drug use and abuse. In a study on ‘gay parties’ of 305 sexual minority women and 1130 sexual minority men those that reported they had experienced LGBT-based victimization were at higher odds of lifetime substance use problems (AOR=1.98) (AOR=2.22) (Mereish, O’Cleirigh, & Bradford, 2014). Unfortunately, sexual minority students lack available resources to help manage substance use and abuse which places them at an increased risk of suicide (Kroshus, Davoren, 2016).

Thus this poster presentation aims to provide adults and professionals working with young adults’ information on LGBT stress reduction, drug use rate, suicide rates, and mental health issues. In addition to resources on alcohol and other drugs (AOD) services providers with expertise in sexuality-related drug abuse. This presentations information will help in creating an effective plan for creating a positive campus climate for LGBT students through policies such as “preferred” pronoun use and targeting maladaptive coping mechanisms in all children.

Evidence

This session will provide an overview of interviews and data collected for research on exploring drug use in the LGBT community through the social learning model (Agnich, Stogner, & Rukus, 2013). In addition to findings from Race, Toby, Murphy, & Pienaar (2017) study on LGBT health disparities, AOD services, gay parties, and suicide. Furthermore, strategies for improving campus climate and implementing “preferred” pronoun use will be rooted in Bazarsky, Morrow, & Javier (2015) study on formulating a universal design for LGBTQA+ inclusion. Lastly, information on adding a center or unit for sexually diverse students is provided by LGBT.campus.org.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Laura E. Agnich is an associate professor and interim department chair in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia Southern University. Her research focuses on school violence, including bullying and school shootings, as well as sexual assault and intimate partner violence among college students. Her work has been published in journals such as the Journal of School Violence, Violence against Women, Deviant Behavior, Journal of Crime and Justice, the American Journal of Criminal Justice, and Children and Youth Services Review.

Liyah Morgan is a senior undergraduate psychology student at Georgia Southern University with a minor in criminal justice. Her research interests are in sexual assault and intimate partner violence, developmental disabilities, LGBT victimization, and child abuse.

Keyword Descriptors

campus climate, LGBT victimization, LGBT youth, Alcohol and other drug services, LGBT college students, social community

Presentation Year

March 2020

Start Date

3-9-2020 4:45 PM

End Date

3-9-2020 6:00 PM

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Mar 9th, 4:45 PM Mar 9th, 6:00 PM

The Impact of Social Climate on Self-Identity, Substance Use, and Mental Health among LGBTQ+ College Students

Meet & Greet Poster Reception (Harborside)

Substance abuse is an unfortunate but commonly used escape for many LGBT youth as they lack resources to help address anxiety and trauma. When faced with a constant state of fear of violence and identity concealment many turn to drugs or suicide. This session will provide information on addressing LGBT youth substance abuse and creating an inclusive campus climate.