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2013 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III

“Coming Out” as a Posttraumatic Growth Source in Differently Aged LGBT Individuals

Past research has shown that, while trauma and intense negative experiences may have profound negative impacts on individuals, there may additionally be positive psychological changes that individuals experience as a result of trauma (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996, 2004). The “coming out experience” has been shown to result in a high level of traumatic stress in an individual, and some work on posttraumatic growth has focused on growth following the experience of coming out in the LGBT community (Cox et al., 2011; Vaughan & Waehler, 2010). There are many individual differences that may play a role in the development of posttraumatic growth following a negative event or experience, such as differences in gender and individual differences in encoding traumatic memories. Additionally, research has shown that age and the influence of aging plays a role in the development of posttraumatic growth (Park et al., 2005; Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996). The purpose of the current work is to extend the posttraumatic growth literature by tying together these disparate threads of research into one research design aimed at posttraumatic growth following the coming out experience among LGBT individuals of different ages, with the hypothesis being that older LGBT individuals will experience greater levels of posttraumatic growth than will younger LGBT individuals, as shown by results on multiple instruments, which will be administered to 100 LBGT individuals of varying ages. Implications and future directions for research will be discussed.

Presenter: Erin Bonafede (SUNY Brockport) --
Topic: Psychology - Panel
Location: 219 Hartwell
Time: 11 am (Session II)