Abstract Although the pervasiveness of heterosexism in the lives of gay and bisexual youth is well established, little is known about the strategies these youth use to cope with stigma and discrimination based on their sexual minority status. The narratives from the current study suggest that the emotion regulation paradigm is well suited to understanding the functions of strategies for coping with heterosexism and similar types of stigma. To assist youth to cope successfully and thrive, service providers need a thorough understanding of the challenges they face, how they cope with them, and which coping strategies or combinations of strategies may be best suited to a particular stressor or situation. One of the most daunting stressors gay and bisexual youth face is heterosexism, the ideological system that denies, denigrates, and stigmatizes any non-heterosexual form of behavior, identity, relationship, or community Herek, Few researchers have examined the emotional consequences of day-to-day encounters with heterosexism, but many have noted the challenge of maintaining a positive sense of self in the face of chronic negative feedback based in heterosexist attitudes e. However, little is known about the actual strategies that gay and bisexual youth use to cope with stigmatization and heterosexism. More recent qualitative studies have begun to describe the range of strategies used by individuals to cope with heterosexism in a variety of contexts.
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