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Mental Health and Resilience Among LGBTQ+ College Students with Disabilities

 

Theme: Mental Health Among Marginalized Communities
Project Title: Mental Health and Resilience Among LGBTQ+ College Students with Disabilities
GranteeRyan Miller, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Bryan Stare, Assistant Professor of Counseling, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Richmond D. Wynn, Counseling Center Director and Associate Professor of Mental Health Counseling, University of North Florida
Grant Period: April-September 2020

Abstract
The existing literature on LGBTQ+ students with disabilities paints a portrait of risk for poor mental and physical health outcomes, yet emerging research is also exploring well-being and more asset-based perspectives on how students manage their identities and find community. This project would contribute an addition to our understanding of mental health among LGBTQ+ college students with disabilities and the dissemination plan would allow these findings to reach higher education practitioners and the broader public as well as scholars. The major aim of this project is to explore and document how LGBTQ+ college students with disabilities describe their mental health and the strategies they use to cope with stressors, develop resilience, and build community. To accomplish this aim, we will utilize existing data collected from a larger study of LGBTQ+ students with disabilities. The constructivist grounded theory study (Charmaz, 2006) included semi-structured, intensive one-on-one interview with 31 LGBTQ+ students with disabilities enrolled at two predominantly white universities in the Southern United States. Among the 31 participants, 20 identified specifically with psychological/psychiatric disabilities such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder; however, all participants were asked to describe their mental health, stressors, and resilience and community building strategies.