Author

Tin VoFollow

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Social Work

Program Name/Specialization

Studies in Social Work Practice

Faculty/School

Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Michael R. Woodford

Advisor Role

Chair

Abstract

Participating in queer sports groups, rainbow choirs, trans virtual discussion groups and other Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexually and gender diverse (2SLGBTQ+) leisure activities can offer participants safety from societal heterosexism and cisgenderism and opportunities for community connection and peer support, as well as foster their overall wellbeing. Yet, transgender/gender nonconforming (TGNC), racialized, and/or disabled individuals, and those with other diverse identities are often marginalized in these spaces. Though researchers have studied exclusion within 2SLGBTQ+ leisure spaces, relatively little is known about how the climate of these spaces shapes social and mental health outcomes. Connected to this gap, little is known about risk factors for facing negative climates, resilience-promoting factors, and different resilience and resistance processes. To ensure that all participants benefit from engaging in 2SLGBTQ+ leisure spaces, it is important to address these issues to strengthen the empirical basis informing interventions to enhance 2SLGBTQ+ leisure spaces and promote positive outcomes among their participants.

Guided by a multi-faceted theoretical framework consisting of minority stress theory, resilience, intersectionality, the socioecological framework, and whiteness theory, and using mixed methods (quantitative survey; qualitative interviews), I address these gaps through my dissertation via three manuscripts, each with a different type of analysis. Drawing on survey data in manuscript 1, I examined the relationship between experiencing intersectional discrimination and social and mental wellbeing, finding that social belonging mediated the discrimination-mental health relationship, which was moderated by antidiscrimination policies and inclusive leadership practice. I also found that disability and its interaction with gender were risk factors for discrimination. In manuscript 2, the first of two mixed methods studies, focusing on climate and social belonging, I quantitatively identified contentious, ambivalent, and welcoming climate profiles across experiential and psychological climate indicators and found lowest belonging in the contentious climate profile, moderate belonging in the ambivalent climate profile, and highest belonging in the welcoming climate profile. Additionally, I qualitatively uncovered processes underlying the climate-belonging relationship, such as dismissive attitudes toward marginalization among members within leisure spaces characterized by negative climates. In manuscript 3, addressing climate and mental health, I found that a more hostile experiential climate was associated with greater psychological distress, while a more inclusive psychological climate was associated with greater positive mental health. Furthermore, 2SLGBTQ+ pride, resilient coping, and social support from friends promotes mental health, but did not moderate the relationship between climate and mental health. Qualitatively, individuals engaged in resistance strategies to process and cope with negative climates through acts such as “passing” behaviours, intervening, and finding new leisure spaces.

The findings have implications for social workers and allied professionals. Micro-practice interventions should include engaging in competent inclusive practices with diverse clients, such as recognizing intersectionality and the associated complexities. Organizational and policy interventions should include identifying and implementing strategies that address systems of oppression and homonormativity in 2SLGBTQ+ leisure spaces, such as training to prevent and intervene on discrimination. Moreover, my research offers implications for studying minority stressors, climate, resilience, and intersectionality, such as the value of using mixed methods and examining both experiential and psychological climate. Addressing the of climate of 2SLGBTQ+ leisure spaces and its implications for diverse individuals is pertinent to ensuring that all participants benefit from engaging in 2SLGBTQ+ leisure spaces.

Convocation Year

2022

Convocation Season

Fall

Available for download on Friday, September 01, 2023

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