Subjective Health Among LGBT Persons Living With Disabilities: A Qualitative Content Analysis

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Objective: There exist significant health disparities among both lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual (LGBT) and disability persons; however, there is a dearth of information regarding the subjective health experiences of LGBT persons living with disabilities (LGBTPWD). As such, the purpose of this study was to understand how LGBTPWD subjectively defined and characterized the meaning of health in their lives. Method: Using qualitative content analyses procedures outlined by Elo and Kyngäs (2008), we conducted a secondary data analysis using a larger questionnaire study that was administered via the Internet. Participants were originally asked to answer the following prompt, “Describe what it personally means to you to be healthy?” Open-ended responses from 79 participants were thematically analyzed over several inductive and comparative coding iterations by a 3-person research team. Trustworthiness of data analysis was ensured via researcher triangulation, negative case analyses, and researcher reflexivity. Results: Four dimensions of subjective health emerged during the qualitative analytic process: physical wellness, emotional vitality, functionality, and social engagement. Conclusions/implications: There are contextually nuanced characteristics that constitute subjective health for LGBTPWD. These findings could help rehabilitation professionals provide culturally competent interventions. Implications for future research and limitations are provided in the discussion section.

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