Discrimination and Mental Health Among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youths in Portugal: The Moderating Role of Family Relationships and Optimism
Freitas DF., D'Augelli AR., Coimbra S., Fontaine AM.
This study investigates associations between mental health, perception of discrimination (unfair treatment and personal rejection), and family environment dimensions—satisfaction, intimacy, admiration, and conflict in the relationships with the mother and the father, and familial optimism—in a sample of 84 gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) Portuguese adolescents. Results show that participants with higher levels of mental health experience less discrimination, feel more respected by their fathers, have fewer conflicts with both parents, and belong to families with higher levels of optimism. No significant differences were found with regard to satisfaction and intimacy in the relationships with both parents and in the perception of admiration by the mothers. Conflict with parents moderated the relation between discrimination and mental health. Having frequent experiences of conflict with parents was found to exacerbate the negative impact of occasional acts of discrimination on mental health. Results highlight the relevance of a positive family environment as a protection mechanism in the face of discrimination, and the need to lower the levels of homophobia and heterosexism in social contexts in order to promote the well-being of GLB adolescents.