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Title: Experiences of disclosing sexual orientation in healthcare consultations
Author: Berkman-Smith, Emma Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 6612
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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This study focused on experiences of healthcare consultations for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people, particularly their disclosure of sexual orientation. LGB people are more at risk of certain healthcare conditions than heterosexual people; disclosing sexual orientation allows healthcare professionals to consider the most appropriate approach to treat the concerns of LGB people. Previous literature suggests that lesbians use techniques to assess the safety of a healthcare environment before choosing to disclose their sexual orientation (Hitchcock & Wilson,1992). No previous study to the author’s knowledge has explored British LGB people’s experiences of healthcare consultations. Six students between the ages of 18 and 25 from the University of Leeds were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. These were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Individual analyses are presented followed by a group analysis detailing master themes occurring across participants. These are: somewhere safe to be free, discomfort defining sexual orientation, searching for acceptance and anticipation and fear of punishment. A process of participants’ approach to healthcare consultations and disclosure of sexual orientation is presented. A combination of participants’ search for acceptance of self and anticipation and fear of punishment seemed to shape their expectations of professionals and how they approached consultations. The interactions between professionals and participants then appeared to influence the participants’ perception of the consultations and their approach future consultations. Clinical implications of this study include: increased training for healthcare professionals around lesbian, gay and bisexual issues, so that they are better able to pick up cues from LGB patients, making it easier for them to disclose sexual orientation if they so choose. By providing the conditions for LGB people to disclose, healthcare professionals are helping to ensure that their LGB patients receive the most appropriate healthcare.
Supervisor: Martin, C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available