Skip Navigation

Produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Subscribe Now

Study Links Family Rejection, Mental Health Distress Among LGBTQ+ Asian Americans

By Rachael Grahame ’17

Family rejection can lead to a cascade of other internal struggles that damage the mental well-being of LGBTQ+ Asian Americans, according to a new study by recent graduates of the University of Maryland’s Department of Psychology.

The research published Wednesday in the American Psychological Association journal Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology was based on an online survey of 155 Asian Americans between the ages of 18 and 56 and is among only a handful of studies focused specifically on family rejection’s influence on Asian American members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“There are these unique experiences at the intersections of anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Asian oppression within society that manifest in familial experiences of rejection that can be addressed,” said lead author M Pease ’22, a Ph.D. student in the counseling psychology program. “Recognizing that there are these unique intersectional dynamics at play can really help enhance the types of supportive and affirming services that we can make available to LGBTQ+ Asian Americans.”

The authors, who also included Lydia HaRim Ahn Ph.D. ’22 and Thomas P. Le Ph.D. ’23, found that LGBTQ+ Asian Americans who experience family rejection often also feel that their identities—as Asian Americans and as members of the LGBTQ+ community, for example—are incompatible.

Respondents who said they experienced such “conflicts in allegiances” also reported feeling shame around not meeting family expectations. This shame was associated with psychological distress.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.