‘Being Actively Confident in All Contexts’: A Qualitative Exploration of Thriving as an Emerging Adult of Diverse Sexual Orientation

Nicole Press, Cliff Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

When one thrives, they grow, develop and succeed. For people of diverse sexual orientations (DSO) thriving within one’s sexuality is often restricted by heteronormativity, minority stress and poor mental health outcomes. Particularly at risk, are DSO “emerging adults” aged between 18–29 years who seek stability before transitioning to adulthood. Therefore, this qualitative study interviewed 12 participants between the ages of 18–29 years to investigate perceptions of thriving within one’s sexuality and factors that may foster or hinder its occurrence. The results indicated participants perceived thriving as a spectrum of states and processes involving a sense of personal safety with high levels of self-acceptance to believe one could exist freely as a person of DSO. The findings suggested thriving within one’s sexuality during emerging adulthood is fostered through the factors of seeking personal growth, social representation/visibility, affirming social support and opportunities to support other DSO people. In contrast, identity denial, unsupportive social environments, erasure/tokenism, and experiences of discrimination eroded one’s ability to thrive. Psychological interventions focusing on establishing a strong sense of identity, building a social support network and encouragement to seek thriving opportunities, may foster thriving experiences for Australian DSO emerging adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 2023

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