Date of Award

12-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Dawn M. Szymanski

Committee Members

Brent S. Mallinckrodt, Gina P. Owens, Robert F. Kronick

Abstract

Despite the richness of the literature about minority stress and negative psychological outcomes and growing attention on lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB) people of color, few studies have examined the intersection of multiple identities of Asian American lesbian and bisexual women (AA LBW). Thus, the purpose of this study was to provide an understanding of the experiences of 50 AA LBW. More specifically, this study explored challenges, coping strategies, and positive aspects of being an AA LBW through the lens of intersectionality. Qualitative analyses revealed three overarching domains concerning day-to-day challenges faced by AA LBW: living as AA sexual minority women in the context of Asian culture, experiencing heterosexism and bisexism, and living with multiple minority identities. In terms of AA LBW’s coping strategies used for dealing with these challenges, three overarching domains were identified: dealing with stigma and prejudice, empowerment strategies, and engaging in a variety of resilience processes. Lastly, two domains of positive aspects about being an AA LBW were identified: socio-cultural sources of strength and insight into and empathy for self and others. Corresponding themes (a total of 33 themes), two of which included subthemes, are also described, and interpretation is provided in light of the relevant literature.

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