Contextual constraints and choices: Strategic identity management among LGBTQ youth

Rachel M. Schmitz, Kimberly A. Tyler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) young people's identity management impacts their well-being, yet little is known about how distinctive social environments shape their identity management strategies. We qualitatively examined how 46 LGBTQ young adults ages 19–26, who are either homeless or attending college, manage their identities across distinctive social contexts. Young adults engaged in identity concealment, which extended across social context as both groups grappled with masking their identities. Furthermore, both groups of young people adapted to socioenvironmental challenges in navigating identity within social relationships. Finally, young adults emphasized the contextual importance of maintaining agency within identity. Understanding how LGBTQ young people immersed in various social contexts traverse identity-related challenges and establish effective coping strategies is essential in developing diverse social programs for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-226
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of LGBT Youth
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018


  • LGBTQ youth
  • college students
  • homeless youth
  • identity management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Education


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