Overview/General

Cochran, S. D. (2001). Emerging issues in research on lesbians' and gay men's mental health: Does sexual orientation really matter? American Psychologist, 56, 931-947.
Theoretical writings and research suggest that the onset, course, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders among lesbians and gay men differ in important ways from those of other individuals. Recent improvements in studies of sexual orientation and mental health morbidity have enabled researchers to find some elevated risk for stress-sensitive disorders that is generally attributed to the harmful effects of anti-homosexual bias. Lesbians and gay men who seek mental health services must find culturally competent care within systems that may not fully address their concerns. The affirmative therapies offer a model for intervention, but their efficacy and effectiveness need to be empirically documented. Although methodological obstacles are substantial, failure to consider research questions in this domain overlooks the welfare of individuals who may represent a sizable minority of those accessing mental health services annually.

Goldfried, M.R. (2001). Integrating lesbian, gay, and bisexual issues into mainstream psychology. American Psychologist, 56, 977–988.
Despite the growing clinical and research literature dealing with gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) issues, mainstream psychology has tended to ignore much of the work that has been done in this area. This article illustrates how clinical and research writings on GLB issues continue to remain invisible to mainstream psychology in such areas as life span development and aging, teenage suicide, substance abuse, victimization and abuse, and family and couple relationships. It also deals with some of the determinants of well-being among GLB individuals, such as family support, and notes the benefits accruing to mainstream psychology from studying GLB issues. A network of family members within psychology having GLB relatives has been formed--AFFIRM: Psychologists Affirming their Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Family--and is dedicated to supporting its own family members, encouraging other family members to do likewise, supporting research and clinical work on GLB issues, and closing the gap between GLB clinical and research work and mainstream psychology. 

Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 674–697.
In this article the author reviews research evidence on the prevalence of mental disorders in lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals (LGBs) and shows, using meta-analyses, that LGBs have a higher prevalence of mental disorders than heterosexuals. The author offers a conceptual framework for understanding this excess in prevalence of disorder in terms of minority stress--explaining that stigma, prejudice, and discrimination create a hostile and stressful social environment that causes mental health problems. The model describes stress processes, including the experience of prejudice events, expectations of rejection, hiding and concealing, internalized homophobia, and ameliorative coping processes. This conceptual framework is the basis for the review of research evidence, suggestions for future research directions, and exploration of public policy implications.

Pachankis, J. E., & Goldfried, M. R. (2004). Clinical issues in working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, and Training, 41, 227–246.
This article discusses some of the key clinical issues for therapists to consider when working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) clients. After a discussion of the biases that can influence psychotherapy, guidelines are given for conducting LGB-affirmative therapy that avoids these biases. Issues that therapists need to be familiar with in working with LGB clients include LGB identity development; couple relationships and parenting; LGB individuals as members of families; the unique stressors faced by individuals who are underrepresented in the LGB research literature (e.g., older LGB individuals, ethnic minorities, religious LGB individuals, bisexual individuals); and legal and workplace issues. An examination of the published literature is offered with particular emphasis given to the available empirical research.

Rothblum, E.D. (1994). 'I Only Read about Myself on Bathroom Walls': The Need for Research on the mental health of lesbians and gay men. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62, 213–220
The very recent history of pathologizing homosexuality still has a strong impact on the public in general and mental health professionals in particular. In contrast to the early research on sexual reorientation of lesbians and gay men, there is relatively little empirical research on the mental health issues of lesbians and gay men. Whether researchers choose to define sexual orientation by sexual behavior, self-definition, or membership in lesbian and gay community groups will have an impact on the results. Research on mental health issues that includes lesbians, gay men, and heterosexual women and men would allow an examination of the relative salience of gender vs sexual orientation. Finally, the experiences of lesbians and gay men in society may place them at increased risk for some mental health problems and may protect them from other mental health problems.


 

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AFFIRM Network, c/o Marvin Goldfried | Psychology Department, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2500 | marvin.goldfried @stonybrook.edu