Exploring the convergence of sexual orientation identity, ethnic identity, cultural factors and their influence on depression, for self-identified gay and bisexual, Latino men
The current study examined and attempted to converge two existing models of identity, as well as provide quantitative data that support longstanding assumptions and hypotheses regarding gay and bisexual Latino men. Using contemporary models of ethnic identity and sexual orientation identity development as a conceptual framework, the study examined the convergence of these identities, the influence of cultural factors, and how this influences mental health, specifically depression. Participants were 276 self-identified gay or bisexual, Latino men, between the ages of 18-26 yrs old. Ninety three percent of the study’s sample (n = 257) self-identified as gay, where the other 7% (n = 19) self-identified as bisexual. Thirteen Latino ethnicities were represented in the sample, including, but not limited to, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Guatemalan, Cuban, and Ecuadorian. Participants completed a demographic form, the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Identity Scale (Mohr & Fassinger, 2000), the Outness Inventory (Mohr & Fassinger, 2000), the Ethnic Identity Scale (Umana-Taylor, 2003), the Beck Depression Inventory-II (Beck, Steer, & Brown 1996) and a questionnaire on Managing Multiple Identities modeled after Chen’s (2005). The results of this study indicated that gay and bisexual men do struggle with integrating the two identities, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Cultural factors such as importance of family, religion, and homophobia, appear to contribute to endorsing symptoms of depression. Results indicated that many participants of the sample also struggled with managing the conflict they experienced through the convergence of the two identities, reporting Avoidance and Not Knowing as coping strategies for managing this conflict. This study provides evidence that supports some of the longstanding assumptions and hypotheses and assists in shedding new light on identity development conceptualization, identity convergence, and identity management between two identities as it relates to self-identified gay and bisexual Latino men. Additionally, through examining the convergence of ethnic identity and sexual orientation identity, this study was able to expand on the identity development literature.