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Family Belongingness Attenuates Entrapment and Buffers Its Association with Suicidal Ideation in a Sample of Dutch Sexual Minority Emerging Adults

Abstract

Sexual minority emerging adults are more likely to engage in suicidal ideation than their heterosexual counterparts. Experiences of homophobic violence are associated with suicidal ideation. Yet, the specific mechanisms linking homophobic violence to suicidal ideation remain unclear. Entrapment and social belongingness were tested to determine their relevance for understanding the link between homophobic violence and suicidal ideation. A sample of sexual minority Dutch emerging adults (N = 675; ages 18–29, M = 21.93 years, SD = 3.20) were recruited through online platforms and flyers. Homophobic violence was expected to be positively associated with suicidal ideation and entrapment. The association between homophobic violence and suicidal ideation was expected to be indirectly linked through entrapment. We explored whether various sources of social belongingness moderated the path between entrapment and suicidal ideation and whether those sources of social belongingness moderated the indirect effect of homophobic violence on suicidal ideation through entrapment. Results showed that homophobic violence and entrapment were positively associated with suicidal ideation and that family belongingness was negatively associated with suicidal ideation. Homophobic violence and suicidal ideation were not indirectly linked through entrapment. The interaction effect between entrapment and family belongingness was significant, suggesting that, on average, the effect of entrapment on suicidal ideation decreased when family belongingness was high. These results suggest that family belongingness may reduce the association between entrapment and suicidal ideation while adjusting for homophonic violence. Reducing entrapment and improving family belongingness may be useful targets for programs aimed at preventing suicidal ideation among sexual minority emerging adults.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In a subsequent question, participants were asked to “Please specify type of violence (sexual/physical/verbal). Check all options that apply” from a list of violence-related events (e.g., damage to personal possessions or property; verbal, physical, or sexual harassment, threats). Participants endorsed experiences of homophobic violence across various domains at the following frequencies: damage to personal possessions or property (2.7%) (n = 18), verbal (49%) (n = 327), physical (5.8%) (n = 39), or sexual harassment (2.5%) (n = 17), relational aggression (33.6%) (n = 224); bullying (28.8%)(n = 192), exclusion/rejection (25%) (n = 167), ignored (15.4%) (n = 103), and threats (12.1%) (n = 81). These responses were used for descriptive purposes and were not used as predictors in subsequent analyses.

  2. 2.

    The main analyses yielded a similar pattern of results when using the seven-point Likert scale. Please see Supplementary Table 1.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the participants of this study for sharing their lived experiences, time, and efforts. We also thank Joz Motmans Ph.D., University of Ghent for sharing these data to make this publication possible. We also thank Derek de Beurs, Ph.D. and Kat Clarijs, M.Sc for their contributions to this project. This research was supported funding from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (Grant No. 1650042), the NSF Worldwide fellowship, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, and the Department of Pedagogy and Educational Sciences at the University of Groningen, awarded to the first author, Luis A. Parra, Ph.D. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF, or other funding agencies.

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Parra, L.A., van Bergen, D.D., Dumon, E. et al. Family Belongingness Attenuates Entrapment and Buffers Its Association with Suicidal Ideation in a Sample of Dutch Sexual Minority Emerging Adults. Arch Sex Behav 50, 983–1001 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01838-0

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Keywords

  • Homophobic violence
  • Entrapment
  • Social belongingness
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Sexual orientation
  • Minority stress