Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures

Whose Side am I On? Examining Conflicts in Allegiances as a Mediator Between Intersectional Discrimination and Mental Health Among Latinx Sexual Minority Adults

Date Range

2020-11-17 to 2020-11-22

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Introduction: Racism and heterosexism produce social inequalities that worsen mental health (Gee & Ford, 2011; Hatzenbuehler, 2009). Yet, limited research examines intersectional discrimination experiences among people who identify as both racial/ethnic and sexual minorities (i.e., racism in LGBTQ communities and heterosexism in racial/ethnic communities). Among sexual minorities of color, evidence suggests experiences of intersectional discrimination are associated with greater conflicts in allegiances (i.e., perceived incompatibility between one’s racial/ethnic and sexual identities; Sarno et al., 2015). Conflicts in allegiances are also associated with higher levels of depression among sexual and racial/ethnic minorities (Santos & VanDaalen, 2016). In the present study, we tested conflicts in allegiances as a mediator in the association between intersectional discrimination and mental health outcomes (i.e. depression and anxiety) among Latinx sexual minority adults.

Method: Participants were recruited via social media advertisements in the US and completed measures of perceived racism in the LGBTQ community, heterosexist discrimination in the Latinx community, conflicts in allegiances, depression, and anxiety (N = 453). Four mediation analyses were conducted using Hayes’ (2018) PROCESS macro (v3.5; model 4), testing conflict in allegiances as mediators of LGBTQ racism and Latinx heterosexism on depression and anxiety. Gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and outness were included as covariates in each model.

Results: As hypothesized, both LGBTQ racism and Latinx heterosexism were positively associated with conflicts in allegiances, and conflicts in allegiances was positively associated with depression and anxiety. Furthermore, LGBTQ racism and Latinx heterosexism were both indirectly associated with depression through conflicts in allegiances, b = .02, SE = .01, 95% CI [.0065, .0313] and b = .03, SE = .01, 95% CI [.0079, .0443], respectively. This was also the case for anxiety, b = .02, SE = .01, 95% CI [.0019, .0322] and b = .03, SE = .01, 95% CI [.0025, .0420], respectively.

Discussion: Findings support minority stress (Meyer, 2003) and intersectionality (McCall, 2005) frameworks and underscore an internal struggle that Latinx sexual minorities may experience within their own minority communities due to racism and heterosexism. These findings highlight the importance of measuring intersecting forms of discrimination, how these may be linked to perceived incompatibility between minority identities, and ultimately the effects on different mental health outcomes. Such knowledge can inform clinical assessments and interventions that best support Latinx sexual minority populations.