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The Development of Proud & Empowered: An Intervention for Promoting LGBTQ Adolescent Mental Health

Abstract

Sexual and gender minority adolescents (SGMA) experience higher rates of internalizing psychopathology, including depression, anxiety, self-harm, and posttraumatic stress disorder. The primary explanation for these mental health disparities is minority stress theory, which suggests that discrimination, violence, and victimization are key drivers of chronic minority stress and place SGMA at higher risk of mental health concerns. To help address these concerns, the authors undertook a nearly 8-year process of developing Proud & Empowered, a school-based intervention to help SGMA cope with minority stress experiences. This manuscript details the intervention development process, including: (a) identifying the mechanisms of change (Stage 0), (b) building the intervention (Stage 1A, Part 1), (c) acceptability testing and program revision (Stage 1A, Part 2), (d) feasibility and pilot testing (Stage 1B, Part 1), (e) modification of the intervention to improve implementability (Stage 1B, Part 2), and (f) the final intervention.

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Funding

Parts of this research were funded by the Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund (PI: Goldbach), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R21HD082813, PI: Goldbach), and the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (R21MD013971, PI: Goldbach). Sponsors provided peer-review of the proposal and funding; sponsors had no role in study design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, writing of the report, or the decision to submit this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jeremy T. Goldbach.

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Study activities involving human subjects were approved by the University of Southern California’s Institutional Review Board.

Informed Consent Participants were minors and provided verbal assent for study procedures; a waiver of parental consent was obtained in order to protect adolescents from forced disclosure of their sexual or gender identity to parents/guardians.

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Goldbach, J.T., Rhoades, H., Rusow, J. et al. The Development of Proud & Empowered: An Intervention for Promoting LGBTQ Adolescent Mental Health. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-021-01250-2

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Keywords

  • LGBT adolescents
  • Intervention development
  • Mental health
  • Prevention