Affirm online: Utilising an affirmative cognitive–behavioural digital intervention to improve mental health, access, and engagement among LGBTQA+ youth and young adults

Shelley L. Craig, Vivian W.Y. Leung, Rachael Pascoe, Nelson Pang, Gio Iacono, Ashley Austin, Frank Dillon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Digital mental health interventions may enable access to care for LGBTQA+ youth and young adults that face significant threats to their wellbeing. This study describes the preliminary efficacy of AFFIRM Online, an eight‐session manualised affirmative cognitive behavioural group intervention delivered synchronously. Participants (Mage = 21.17; SD = 4.52) had a range of sexual (e.g., queer, lesbian, pansexual) and gender (e.g., non‐binary, transgender, cisgender woman) iden-tities. Compared to a waitlist control (n = 50), AFFIRM Online participants (n = 46) experienced significantly reduced depression (b = −5.30, p = 0.005, d = 0.60) and improved appraisal of stress as a challenge (b = 0.51, p = 0.005, d = 0.60) and having the resources to meet those challenges (b = 0.27, p = 0.059, d = 0.39) as well active coping (b = 0.36, p = 0.012, d = 0.54), emotional support (b = 0.38, p = 0.017, d = 0.51), instrumental support (b = 0.58, p < 0.001, d = 0.77), positive framing (b = 0.34, p = 0.046, d = 0.42), and planning (b = 0.41, p = 0.024, d = 0.49). Participants reported high acceptability. This study highlights the potential of digital interventions to impact LGBTQA+ youth mental health and explores the feasibility of digital mental health to support access and engagement of youth with a range of identities and needs (e.g., pandemic, lack of transportation, rural locations). Findings have implications for the design and delivery of digital interventions for marginalised youth and young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1541
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2 2021

Keywords

  • Cognitive–behavioural
  • Digital mental health
  • Intervention
  • LGBTQA+
  • Mental health
  • Online adaptation
  • Sexual and gender minorities
  • Technology‐mediated
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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