"We Shared A Heartbeat": Protective Functions Of Faith Communities In The Lives Of LGBTQ+ People

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Denise Levy Ph.D., Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Dept. of Social Work (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/

Abstract: Although prior research has demonstrated that faith communities, religiosity, and/or religious af?liation can be risk factors for depression, suicide, and substance abuse among LGBTQ+ people, there is also promising evidence of the protective functions of faith communities for LGBTQ+ people. This study’s purpose was to explore what draws LGBTQ+ people to stay in faith communities. The data were collected from a sampling pool recruited at a national conference formerly called the Gay Christian Network (GCN) conference. Our sample of 30 individuals were purposively selected in order to represent diverse views from a variety of demographic domains, many of which are underrepresented in the extant empirical literature on this topic. Qualitative data were analyzed using a procedure by Maietta and colleagues called Sort and Sift, Think and Shift. The analysis resulted in six themes: profound loss versus healing authenticity, fear of rejection versus joy of inclusion, what works for now versus heavenly bliss, isolation versus community, cultural versus not cultural, and mainstream versus marginalized. The results of the study have implications for clinical practice with LGBTQ+ individuals and offer a more nuanced understanding of both the risk and protective functions of faith communities in the lives of LGBTQ+ people.

Additional Information

Gandy, M., Natale, A., & Levy, D. (2021). “We Shared a Heartbeat”: Protective Functions of Faith Communities in the Lives of LGBTQ+ People. Spirituality in Clinical Practice (American Psychological Association), vol. 8, no. 2, 98-111. Publisher version of record available at: https://doi.org/10.1037/scp0000225
Language: English
Date: 2021
sexual and gender minority, religious group, qualitative, resilience, coping

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