Disclosure experiences of sexual minority college student victims of intimate partner violence

Kateryna M Sylaska, Katie M Edwards
American Journal of Community Psychology 2015, 55 (3-4): 326-35
Although research on disclosure following intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization is burgeoning, sexual minority young adults' (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, etc.; LGBQ+) experiences have not received equal attention. The current study employed the minority stress framework to examine disclosure experiences of LGBQ+ college students across the United States reporting physical IPV victimization within their current relationship (n = 77). Participants completed measures assessing minority stress and IPV disclosure, and answered open-ended questions regarding the most and least helpful persons/responses to disclosure or reasons for non-disclosure. Results indicated that approximately one-third (35 %) of victims disclosed to at least one person, with friends being the most common recipients. Thematic analyses indicated that talking or listening to the victim was considered the most helpful response and not understanding the situation least helpful. Reasons for non-disclosure centered on themes of the victims' perception that the IPV was not a big deal. Quantitative findings regarding physical IPV disclosure indicated that non-disclosers experienced greater minority stress than disclosers. The current study suggests the presence of differences between sexual minority (i.e., LGBQ +persons) and non-sexual minority persons, as well as between LGBQ+ young adults/college students and older adults and presents a theoretical structure (i.e., minority stress framework) through which these differences may be understood.

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