Belonging to the General and Queer Communities: Potential Mechanisms in the Relationship Between Attachment and Depression in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, and Pansexual Persons
According to the integrated attachment and sexual minority stress model and the theory of belonging, minority stress places lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and pansexual (LGBQP) persons at risk of insecure attachment and mental-health problems, whereas belonging to a community (especially the LGBQP+ Community) is beneficial. We tested the hypothesis that the sense of belonging (SOB) to the LGBQP+ Community may be one mechanism through which attachment security protects LGBQP adults from depression. We also tested whether this mechanism is equally present at different levels of SOB to the general community. As predicted, SOB to the LGBQP+ Community mediated the indirect negative effect of attachment security on depression, lending tentative support to the mechanism and conceptually replicating prior research. We found no evidence that this mediation effect would vary with levels of SOB to the general community. Exploratory analyses revealed that anxious and avoidant attachment may differ in the extent to which SOB to the LGBQP+ and general communities mediate their relationships with depression. This research was appropriately powered (N = 364) but limited by its cross-sectional methodology. We discuss the implications of this research regarding health inequities, access to the LGBQP+ Community, and the promotion of well-being in queer people. The variables within the dataset refer to the General Belongingness Scale (GBS; Malone et al., 2012), the Center for Epidemiologic Scale for Depression (CESD; Radloff, 1977), and the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale Short Form (ECRS-SF; Wei et al., 2007). The GBS measures participants’ experiences of feeling included, accepted, and connected in a community. Within our study, there were two versions of the GBS administered; one version referred to the LGBQP community, and one version referred to the general community. The CESD assesses the frequency of depressive symptoms experienced in the past week. We administered two versions of the ECRS-SF. Participants were selected to take one version of the ECRS-SF based on their response to a question asking if they had ever been in a close romantic relationship before. Participants who answered "yes" received the original version of the ECRS-SF. Participants who answered "no" received an altered version of the ECRS-SF that changed the language from "romantic partner" to "people I'm close with". Standard demographic information such as: age, gender, relationship status, and ethnicity are included in this dataset. Standard demographic information such as: age, gender, relationship status, and ethnicity are included in this dataset.