Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Cindy Struckman-Johnson

Second Advisor

Dr. Harry Freeman

Third Advisor

Dr. Sara Lampert


LGBQA, adolescents


Many adolescents turn to media outlets to search for more information on the experiences they are going through and what they are feeling. For many adolescents, media, specifically social media, seems to provide a safe space for them to openly express their feelings and to connect with others who may be encountering the same experiences as them. Media especially plays a large role in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and asexual (LGBQA) adolescents. LGBQA youth likely turn to media to help define and solidify their sexual orientation and to read other's life stories. Currently, there is very little research that exists focused on the media use of sexual minorities. Given that media use may serve a central role in helping youth who are forming their sexual minority identities, this study may shed light on important processes that help youth form positive identities during this developmental period. This study aims to provide further research on how sexual minorities use media to determine and define their sexual orientationa nd how their media usage is affected by their sexual orientation. Participants, ages 18-27, took part in an hour-long interview to determine how they used media and online communities to understand and define their sexual orientation and how their media usage was affected by their sexual orientation. The information provided by the participants was then looked over and analyzed using the constant comparative method to further understand how sexual orientation and media usage are related.



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