Sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY) experience disproportionate mental health disparities, and are often overlooked in mental health practice and research. Mindfulness and self-compassion interventions have been shown to improve mental health among youth, including anxiety and depression. This study sought to examine the utility of an adapted LGBTQ+-affirmative mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) for SGMY, introducing core mindfulness and self-compassion skills within a simulated MBI, and developing an adapted MBI.
SGMY (n = 30) provided feedback on the development of an adapted affirmative MBI via four focus groups and six individual interviews. Grounded theory was used to determine which specific adaptations to mindfulness and self-compassion practices would be beneficial.
Three major themes emerged: (1) The importance of practicing mindfulness in an LGBTQ+-affirming context; (2) the importance of psychological safety when practicing mindfulness; (3) maintaining an explicit focus on self-compassion is essential for an LGBTQ+ youth affirmative mindfulness program.
SGMY found mindfulness and self-compassion practices beneficial and acceptable. Overarching themes suggest that (1) SGMY may benefit from an affirmative MBI and (2) they would like to make use of mindfulness to address stressors and foster self-compassion.
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We are grateful to the LGBTQ+ youth participants and to Billee Laskin, Neelu Walia, and Roz Spafford for their work in supporting the study. We thank IASWG and Community One Foundation for their financial support.
The study was performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. In Canada, the Human Participants Ethics Review Sub-Committee of University of Toronto approved the study.
Written informed consent was obtained from all participants.
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The authors declare no competing interests.
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Iacono, G., Craig, S.L., Crowder, R. et al. A Qualitative Study of the LGBTQ+ Youth Affirmative Mindfulness Program for Sexual and Gender Minority Youth. Mindfulness 13, 222–237 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01787-2