Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #8
CE Offered: BACB
Leaving the Safety of Our Closets: Examining the Impacts of Stigma and Discrimination in LGBTQ and Gender Nonconforming Populations
Saturday, May 23, 2015
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
204A (CC)
Area: CSE; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Garret M Cantu (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Discussant: Angela M. Persicke (Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD))
CE Instructor: Angela M. Persicke, M.A.
Abstract: Although legal action has been consistently more progressive toward individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ) and gender nonconforming, the social climate still provides a context that perpetuates stigma and discrimination directed toward these individuals. Individuals who engage in stigmatizing behavior toward LGBTQ individuals often work justify these actions, while those who are being stigmatized or discriminated against display patterns of behavior associated with decreased psychological well-being and neglect to physical health. This symposium will look at behaviors associated with discrimination and stigma targeting LGBTQ and gender nonconforming populations from individuals who engage in stigmatizing behaviors as well as those who receive gender-related discrimination. The first presentation will assess the relationships between psychological flexibility and LGBTQ stigma in a southern college student sample. The second paper will discuss the relationships between gender-related discrimination, body image, psychological flexibility and engagement in health physical activity in the daily lives of individuals along the continuum of gender expression. Implications for future research as well as interventions aimed improving psychological and physical well-being of individuals in the LGBTQ and gender nonconforming population will be discussed.
Keyword(s): discrimination/stigma, gender nonconformity, LGBTQ issues, psychological flexibility
Seeing Past Sexuality: Psychological Inflexibility, LGBTQ Stigma, and Responsiveness to Education-Based Stigma Interventions
LAUREN BURNS (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Lauren Griffin (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Stigma associated with marginalized groups is quite common. As a marginalized group, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) community is often the recipient of this stigma. Because of these stigmatizing views and beliefs, LGBTQ persons are often subjected to discrimination, harassment and violence. Stigma is most commonly addressed through education interventions, however, data supporting these interventions is mixed. This may be due to psychological factors that education interventions do not address. For example, psychological inflexibility involves narrowness of attention, rigidity and insensitivity of behavior, and dominance of the avoidant repertoire. Recently, investigations into the mechanisms underlying stigma reveal that psychological inflexibility might 1) facilitate stigma, and 2) interfere with new learning that could undermine stigma. The current study examined the relationship between psychological flexibility, LGBTQ stigma, and responsiveness to an education intervention. Participants reported explicit attitudes toward the LGBTQ community, along with behavioral intentions. Next participants were exposed to an education intervention designed to decrease LGBTQ stigma. Preliminary data suggest that psychological flexibility predicts stigma, and responsiveness to education interventions designed to decrease stigma. Implications for integrating flexibility-based interventions with education will be discussed.
She, He, They and Their Bodies: Gender-Related Discrimination, Body Image, Flexibility, and Physical Activity across the Continuum of Gender Expression
MADISON GAMBLE (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Jessica Auzenne (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Gender identity and gender expression influence many areas of the individual’s life beyond interpersonal relationships, including psychological and interpersonal well-being. For example, gender nonconforming adolescents have been found to engage in less physical activity than their counterparts which may have serious implications for their physical well-being (Calzo et al., 2014). One mechanism by which this impact is made is through discrimination from others. Individuals who are gender nonconforming are more likely to be discriminated against than individuals whose gender identity conform to their biological sex. The negative impacts associated with this discrimination might stem from bodily dissatisfaction and inflexibility about experiences of the body, which have also been linked to decreased engagement in physical activity. This study sought to determine the effects of experiences of gender-related discrimination, body image disturbance, and body image flexibility on patterns of healthy physical activity. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) was used to assess these behaviors over the course of the participants’ daily experiences. Preliminary results suggest that flexibility with body experiences may play a role in the impacts of gender-related discrimination on physical activity. Implications for intervention and future research will be discussed.



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