University of Twente Student Theses


Preferences and Needs Regarding a Preventive Intervention for Gay Men Experiencing Depressive Symptoms to Improve Their Mental Health

Petersen, Julia (2023) Preferences and Needs Regarding a Preventive Intervention for Gay Men Experiencing Depressive Symptoms to Improve Their Mental Health.

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Abstract:Background: Reducing mental health differences among sexual and gender minorities (SGMs) has received increasing attention recently, focusing on alleviating the negative consequences for the individual and improve SGMs mental health. Existing research outlines elevated rates of depression, suicidality, and other related poor mental health among young gay men compared to their heterosexual peers. In contrast to existing research on mental health, considerably less extensive research exists about eHealth interventions that aim at improving mental health of gay men. Objective: This study focused on gaining insights into the depressive symptoms experienced by gay men aged 18 to 27 as well as their needs regarding an early, preventive eHealth intervention aimed at alleviating experienced depressive symptoms. Methods: By following a participatory approach characterised by the active participation of all stakeholders, two focus groups were conducted, whereby the first consisted of six queer participants and the second of three gay participants, aged 19 to 24 years. Results: The detailed insights given resulted in the identification of four themes related to the depressive symptoms that are experienced: (1) lack of connectedness with others, (2) coping through connectedness, (3) coping through reflection, and (4) burdensome environments and discrimination. Themes identified concerning the preferences and needs related to a preventive eHealth intervention involved: (1) building connections with others, digital communication, and awareness about depression, (2) self-development through self-reflection, (3) engaging in positivity and personal growth, and (4) coping through activities. Conclusion: It could be concluded that connectedness and communication with others plays a key role to good mental health of gay men. Participants described a lack of connection, connection as a coping mechanism as well as a wish for connection and communication to be included within an eHealth intervention. This research is a first step in providing valuable insights that could be used to inform the development of an eHealth intervention aimed at improving mental health among gay men. Rather than focusing on individual approaches, future research could further investigate the impact that being connected to others has in treating depressive symptoms.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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