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JMIR Ment Health

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Background: In conservative and rural areas, where antidiscrimination laws do not exist, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people are at risk for excess stress arising from discrimination. Stress-reducing interventions delivered via innovative channels to overcome access barriers are needed.

Objective: This study aimed to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of online mindfulness-based stress reduction (OMBSR) with LGB people in Appalachian Tennessee at high risk for stress.

Methods: In 2 pilot studies involving pre-post test designs, participants completed 8 weeks of OMBSR, weekly activity logs, semistructured interviews, and surveys of perceived and minority stress.

Results: Overall, 24 LGB people enrolled in the study and 17 completed OMBSR. In addition, 94% completed some form of mindfulness activities daily, including meditation. Participants enjoyed the program and found it easy to use. Perceived stress (Cohen, perceived stress scale-10) decreased by 23% in women (mean 22.73 vs mean 17.45; t10=3.12; P=.01) and by 40% in men (mean 19.83 vs mean 12.00; t5=3.90; P=.01) between baseline and postprogram. Women demonstrated a 12% reduction in overall minority stress (Balsam, Daily Experiences with Heterosexism Questionnaire) from baseline to 12-week follow-up (mean 1.87 vs mean 1.57; t10=4.12; P=.002). Subscale analyses indicated that women’s stress due to vigilance and vicarious trauma decreased by 21% and 20%, respectively.

Conclusions: OMBSR may be a useful tool to help LGB people reduce general and minority-specific stress in socially conservative regions lacking antidiscrimination policies.


This article was published openly thanks to the University of Tennessee Open Publishing Support Fund.

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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