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“Let me do what I please with it […] don't decide my identity for me”: LGBTQ+ youth experiences of social media in narrative identity development.

Bates, Adam ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6587-0336, Hobman, Trish and Bell, Beth T. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6587-0336 (2019) “Let me do what I please with it […] don't decide my identity for me”: LGBTQ+ youth experiences of social media in narrative identity development. Journal of Adolescent Research.

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Abstract

Social media provides LGBTQ+ youth with daily access to a broader socio-cultural dialogue that may shape narrative identity development. Through in-depth narrative interviews, the present study sought to understand the lived experiences of 11 LGBTQ+ undergraduates (Age range = 19 – 23) building narrative identities in the cultural context of social media, and the role of social media within this process. Interviews were analysed using an interpretative, individual analysis of personal stories. These experiences were then compared and contrasted through thematic analysis to identify four shared narratives themes. Narratives of merging safe spaces highlight how LGBTQ+ youth now have regular access to safe environments on/offline which facilitate more secure identity development. Narratives of external identity alignment describe social media as a tool for LGBTQ+ youth to seek out identities that match their pre-existing sense of self. Narratives of multiple context-based identities encapsulate how adolescents’ identity markers are multiple and invoked in a context-dependent manner. Lastly, narratives of individuality and autonomy characterise how LGBTQ+ youth perceive themselves as highly individualised members of a wider community. These findings highlight the complex role social media plays within LGBTQ+ youth identity development. The implications are discussed within.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0743558419884700
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF636 Applied psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF637 Counselling
School/Department: School of Psychological & Social Sciences
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/4125

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