Date of Graduation

Fall 2021

Degree

Master of Science in Counseling

Department

Counseling, Leadership, and Special Education

Committee Chair

Angela Anderson

Keywords

bisexual women, bisexual identity development, women, resiliency, lived experiences

Subject Categories

Clinical and Medical Social Work | Community Health | Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

Abstract

Research has shown that bisexual individuals experience poorer mental health outcomes, resulting in depression, anxiety, substance use, and suicidal ideation, than their gay or straight counterparts (Calzo, Antonucci, Mays, & Cochran, 2011; Ross, Dobinson, & Eady, 2010; Taylor, Power, & Smith, 2020). These poor mental health outcomes suggest bisexual individuals may be experiencing hardships these other groups are not. This qualitative study sought to gain an understanding of the lived experiences of bisexual women aged 18-25. The researcher sought to gain an understanding of self-identified resiliency factors by the women as it pertains to their sexual/affectional orientation. Detailed interviews were the primary data collection method and were conducted with four women who identify as bisexual. Thematic coding was utilized to identify themes among the participants. The research explored with people who identify as bisexual what they identify as helpful or hindering in terms of identity development and acceptance. Themes identified included supportive factors, exploration/education, hindering factors, religion, assumptions that the participants were straight, as well as others. Recommendations are included for parents, teachers, and mental healthcare professionals that will aid in serving this population.

Copyright

© Emma M. Leonard

Open Access

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