LGBT Guilds as Buffers Against Sexual Minority Stress
Minority stress theory posits that social connection to LGBT-affirming communities may buffer against the negative mental health effects of anti-LGBT stigma. Yet, few scholars have extended this scope of research to video games—a $90 billion industry touching nearly three-fourths of all U.S. households. This study is among the first to investigate how membership in a virtual LGBT-affirming community within online video games (LGBT Guilds) impacts minority stress levels and mental health. Utilizing cross-sectional data from a survey of adult LGBT gamers who play Final Fantasy XIV Online (N = 520), this study tested an adapted version of the minority stress model by examining direct and indirect effects of LGBT Guild membership, participation, communication, and sense of belonging on sexual minority stress and mental health. Results from structural equation modeling are consistent with current literature and support further investigation of unique LGBT subpopulations such as gamers.
Creative Arts and Research Symposium