Living Through COVID-19: Social Distancing, Computer-Mediated Communication, and Well-Being in Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Adults

Katie Baumel, Mara Hamlett, Brittany Wheeler, Deborah Hall, Ashley K. Randall, Kristin Mickelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

COVID-19 has had far-reaching effects on people’s lives, with evidence of a disproportionate impact on marginalized groups. Given existing health disparities and research on minority stress, COVID-19 may have uniquely impacted psychological well-being among sexual minorities. In an online survey of adults in the U.S. (N = 1,007) conducted in April 2020, we examined differences between sexual minority and heterosexual participants in psychological well-being, social distancing, computer-mediated communication, and COVID-19-related worry and experiences. Sexual minorities reported lower thriving and greater psychological distress, social distancing, computer-mediated communication, and COVID-19 worry and experiences than heterosexual participants. Social distancing and distress were positively correlated among sexual minorities and more frequent computer-mediated communication predicted greater thriving across groups. Path analyses showed sexual minorities’ poorer psychological well-being was mediated by their greater COVID-19 worry and social distancing, in particular. These findings shed light on the distinct impact of COVID-19 on sexual minorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-691
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Volume68
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • LGBQ
  • computer-mediated communication
  • psychological well-being
  • sexual minorities
  • social distancing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)

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