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The Importance of Peer Influence for LGBTQ+ Youth in Rural Communities

Aaron Kemmerer

supported by findings from Safe as Yourself (SAY) Project

Traci Wike (PI), Leah Bouchard, Maurico Yabar, and Aaron Kemmerer

Objectives: To explore the experiences and narratives of LGBTQ+ youth in rural North Carolina. To elaborate on the influence of peer support and impact of peer victimization for LGBTQ+ youth in rural North Carolina.

Methods: Data was collected from eleven young people who were interviewed from 2019-2020 at an LGBTQ+ youth center in rural North Carolina. The interviews were coded and analyzed using narrative analysis on a team of interraters; the team consisted of four members from VCU School of Social Work: the principle investigator, two doctoral research assistants, and an MSW research assistant.

Results: Analysis of the interviews, though still in process, so far highlights the impact of the dual impact of participants’ peers --- simultaneously pointing to LGBTQ+ youth experiences with both peer victimization (as a risk factor) and peer support (as a resilience factor).

Conclusions: Peer support is vital for LGBTQ+ youth in rural communities and may help offset the negative impact of peer victimization.

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Clinical Psychology | Psychology

Is Part Of

VCU Graduate Research Posters

Gene-by-Intervention Effects on Alcohol Dependence Symptoms in Emerging Adulthood