“Is This Normal? Is This Not Normal? There Is No Set Example”: Sexual Health Intervention Preferences of LGBT Youth in Romantic Relationships

Abstract

Limited research has examined the romantic relationships of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth despite evidence of relationship-oriented risks, including STI/HIV infection, unplanned pregnancy, and interpersonal violence. In efforts to inform future dyadic sexual health interventions for LGBT youth, this couple-based study aimed to identify the most salient sexual and relationship concerns of young same-sex couples and to assess their preferences for intervention content and format. Participants were a subset 36 young, racially and ethnically diverse, same-sex couples (N = 72 individuals) recruited from two ongoing longitudinal studies. Interviews were coded using a constant comparison method, and a process of inductive and deductive thematic analysis was used to interpret the data. The analysis yielded the following intervention themes: addressing sexual risk and protective behaviors, improving communication, coping with family and relationship violence, and identifying role models and sources of support. The couples reported a clear preference for small group interventions, and many recommended a mixed format approach for intervention delivery (i.e., including dyadic and online sessions). Additionally, recommendations for participant recruitment included a combination of Internet-based and social network referrals.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Throughout the article, couples composed of male-born individuals will be referred to as male couples; similarly, dyadic partnerships composed of female-born individuals will be referred to as female couples. Transgender participants were included with their partners as “same-sex couples” and gender identity is noted in parentheses.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (1R21MH095413; PI Mustanski). A small portion of the sample was also recruited through a cohort funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA025548; PIs Mustanski and Garofalo). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funders. We are grateful to the Project Q2 and Crew450 study participants and their partners, and also Lou Bigelow, Antonia Clifford, and Matthew Thoman for coding the interview transcripts. We thank Antonia Clifford and the reviewers for constructive feedback on earlier drafts of this paper.

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Greene, G.J., Fisher, K.A., Kuper, L. et al. “Is This Normal? Is This Not Normal? There Is No Set Example”: Sexual Health Intervention Preferences of LGBT Youth in Romantic Relationships. Sex Res Soc Policy 12, 1–14 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-014-0169-2

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Keywords

  • Couples
  • Health promotion
  • Health status disparities
  • HIV
  • Homosexuality
  • Qualitative research
  • Sexual health