Social Media as Social Capital of LGB Individuals in Hong Kong: Its Relations with Group Membership, Stigma, and Mental Well-Being
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Social media are found to facilitate social information exchange among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals who are subjected to social stigma. This study tested the protective role of LGB-tailored social media uses and gratifications in promoting LGB group membership, which we hypothesized to reduce LGB stigma and enhance mental health among LGB individuals in Hong Kong. Based on a sample of 233 Chinese LGB individuals in Hong Kong, structural equation modeling showed evidence for our hypotheses, χ (df=62) 2 = 88.20, GFI = 0.95, CFI = 0.98, NNFI = 0.98, SRMR = 0.07, RMSEA = 0.04. Community surveillance, identity expression, and emotional support on social media may promote mental health by instilling a sense of group membership and reducing stigma. Social media may build camaraderie and bolster resilience among LGB individuals that may otherwise be difficult in conservative regions.
KeywordsSocial media Lesbian/gay/bisexual individuals Hong Kong Stigma Structural equation modeling
The study was supported by the Chinese University of Hong Kong I-CARE Program (Research Project No. R14-11). We wish to thank Chun Yam Chau and the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong for their support in this study; Harold T. Y. Chui and Michael S. Boroughs for their feedback on the manuscript.
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