Understanding the role of self-stigma and shame in suicidality and self-harm among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people: a mixed method

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Psychology


Key research questions
1. What are the levels of self-stigma and shame in LGB and T young people who have engaged in suicidal behaviours and/or self-harm?
2. How does self-stigma and shame about one's sexual and gender identity could lead to suicidality and self-harm in LGBT youth?
3. What is the role of perceptions of defeat and entrapment in LGBT youth suicidality and self-harm?
4. Are there differences between LGB and T young people in how they experience self-stigma and shame and how these experiences could be associated with recent or past suicidal behaviour/self-harm?

Methodology and techniques to be employed
A sequential exploratory mixed methods design will be adopted:

Phase 1: A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with LGBT young people exploring how they experience self-stigma and shame associated with their sexual and gender identity; and, how these experiences are/have been implicated in suicidality and self-harm. Qualitative data will be analysed thematically. Findings from Phase 1 will guide the quantitative component of the study (Phase 2).
Phase 2: A prospective study investigating daily experiences of self-stigma, internal and external shame, perceptions of defeat and entrapment, mood, suicidality and self-harm will be carried out with a representative group of LGBT young people aged 14-25 years old. Methods could include online daily diaries or ecological momentary assessments (EMA). A series of stakeholder consultations with an LGBT youth advisory group will take place to co-produce the study and seek advice on usability and acceptability of specific methods.
Recruitment: LGBT young people will be recruited from various sources including the Nottingham Centre for Transgender Health; national organisations such as Gendered Intelligence; LGBT youth groups in East and West Midlands; social media advertising.
Phase 3: Findings from the qualitative interviews and the prospective study will be synthesized and reviewed in relation to the extant literature to inform the development of a novel theoretical model of suicidality and self-harm in LGBT young people.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000711/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2070067 Studentship ES/P000711/1 30/09/2018 31/01/2022 Amy Jessica Williams