Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Self-Stigma, Self-Concept Clarity, and Mental Health Status of Filipino LGBT Individuals

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Self-Stigma, Self-Concept Clarity, and Mental Health Status of Filipino LGBT Individuals

Article excerpt

Many Filipino LGBTs still continue to experience stigma, prejudice, and discrimination (Psychological Association of the Philippines, PAP, 2011). According to PAP (2011) Filipino LGBTs, as sexual minorities, continue to experience countless amounts of minority stressors from society due to the constant contrast of their values and that of the values of the dominant society (Austria, 2004; Bernardo, 2013; IGLHRC, 2011; Manalastas, 2013; Manalastas & del Pilar, 2005; Ofreneo, 2013).

Public opinion also suggests that anti-gay prejudice is alive among Filipinos. In the analysis conducted by Manalastas and del Pilar (2005), a nationally representative survey found that 1 out of 4 Filipinos would reject gay people as neighbors and that 28% of Filipino adults consider being gay as "unacceptable." The views regarding homosexuality in the Philippines are somewhat attributed to the dominant culture of heterosexuality and religious teachings. Cultural norms are built around the dominant culture of heterosexuality defining same-sex relationships as deviant and immoral while defining man-woman relationships as good, "normal and natural" (Manalastas, 2013, p. 4).

According to the official statement of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) LGBT groups pushed forward an agenda of equality and respect from the mainstream society. They have clamored for due diligence from the government, specifically for the passage of laws that would protect the rights of all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity (IGLHRC, 2011).

Researchers have documented the negative consequences of self-stigma on the mental health of stigmatized individuals. Self-stigmatization is a process whereby stigmatized persons accept diminished self-expectations (Caltaux, 2003). Self-stigmatization disrupts overall well-being and social networks (Wahl, 1999), lowers self-esteem and self-efficacy (Camp, Finlay, & Lyons, 2002; Corrigan & Watson, 2002; Link et al., 2001), and reduces life satisfaction and social adaptation (Markowitz, 2001; Perlick et al., 2001). Thus self-stigma becomes an important issue to address in efforts to improve the individual well-being of stigmatized persons (Mak & Cheung, 2010).

Researchers have tried to explore other processes that may help better understand the dynamics of how various stressors affect mental health and well-being. In 1996, Campbell and colleagues explored the possible impact of enhancing self-concept clarity on a person's subjective well-being. Self-concept clarity (SCC) is a structural aspect of the self-concept and "it is the extent to which self-beliefs are confidently and clearly defined, internally consistent, and stable" (Campbell, Trapnell, Heine, Katz, Lavallee, & Lehman, 1996, p. 141). Confrontations with life events that can make life feel meaningless or can highlight discontinuity from one's past may undercut SCC and create self-concept confusion (Campbell et al., 1996). More recent studies have supported the contention that SCC is positively associated with psychological well-being (DeCremer & Sedikides, 2005; Lavallee & Campbell, 1995; Slotter, Gardner, & Finkel., 2010).

Our research is intended to add to the extant findings of research on self-stigmatization and self-concept clarity and their relationship to mental health. To our knowledge there is a general lack of psychological research on LGBT persons living in the Philippines. Specifically, it seems likely that the mainstream of Filipino society has rejected the sexual values of the LGBT Filipino minority, and this may have a negative impact on their tendency to self-stigmatize, and contribute to confusion regarding their self-concept. We hypothesize that LGBT Filipinos' self-stigma and self-concept clarity will significantly predict their mental health state.

METHOD

Participants

Using a nonprobability snowball sampling method, 566 self-identified Filipino LGBTs with ages ranging from 16 to 67 (M = 22. …

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