Strengthening Social Ties to Increase Confidence and Self-Esteem Among Sexual and Gender Minority Youth

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Abstract

Sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth too often live in nonsupportive environments. This study reports the influence of social support from primary and secondary social ties on confidence and self-esteem among participants in Hatch Youth, a drop-in group-level intervention for SGM youth. Each 3-hour Hatch Youth meeting consists of a social, educational, and youth-led support hour. Over 14 weeks, these meetings were randomly observed and individual interviews with participating youth (n = 12) and staff and volunteers (n = 12) were conducted; data underwent a content analysis. Participants perceived an increase in confidence and self-esteem through enhanced bonding with family and friends, a sense of belonging, and community empowerment because of their involvement with Hatch Youth, suggesting drop-in centers can strengthen secondary social ties and improve confidence and self-esteem.

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