The Association Between Daily Concealment and Affect Among Sexual and Gender Minority Adolescents: The Moderating Role of Family and Peer Support

Wouter J. Kiekens*, Ethan H. Mereish

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Purpose
There is a lack of research on the association between identity concealment and mental health among sexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents and how social support may attenuate this association. Furthermore, research typically neglects the day-to-day variability in concealment experiences of SGM adolescents. Therefore, we examined the association between daily sexual orientation and gender identity concealment and positive and negative affect and the moderating role of family and peer support on this association among SGM adolescents.
Methods
A 21-day daily diary study among 94 SGM adolescents (mean [M] age = 16.10, standard deviation [SD] = 1.50; 31.9% gender minority; 44.7% youth of color) was conducted. Multilevel regression analyses tested the association between daily concealment and positive and negative affect and a cross-level interaction was used to assess the moderating effects of social supports.
Results
Daily concealment was associated with higher negative but not with positive affect. Family support was associated with lower daily negative affect but not with positive affect. Peer support was not significantly associated with negative or positive affect. Moderation results indicated that the association between daily concealment and negative affect was significant for adolescents who reported low or average levels of family support but was no longer significant for adolescents who reported high levels of family support.
Discussion
Daily identity concealment was positively associated with negative affect and this association was attenuated by family support. Future research and interventions should target families to improve the lives of SGM adolescents and to help reduce and eliminate mental health disparities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)650-657
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume70
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2022

Keywords

  • Concealment
  • Family support
  • Peer support
  • Sexual minority
  • Gender minority
  • Adolescents
  • Affect

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