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

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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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