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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Therapeutic effects of a psychoeducational group intervention for enhancing self-validation of gay men Fraser, John William


The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of using a cross-cultural Self-Validation Model (Ishiyama, 1989) with a group of seven gay men. This model was developed as a means of exploring and understanding the nature of cross-cultural adjustment difficulties and feelings of loss and homesickness of young immigrants and foreign students. The psychological components of this model have been identified as being invalidated for many gay men. It was suggested that by viewing gay issues from a cross-cultural adjustment perspective, more positive outcomes would follow in that these issues could be explored in a more diversified and socially accepted framework. In this study, the model was used to facilitate a group of gay men’s awareness of their inner struggles and as a tool for exploring ways of accessing their internal and external validation resources and expanding them. It was predicted that the use of the model in a group format would be an effective therapeutic tool for working with gay men. The Nungesser Homosexual Attitudes Inventory (Nungesser, 1979), Social Avoidance Tendency Scale (Ishiyama, 1992), Self-Critical Cognition Scale (Ishiyama, 1989), and Coopersmith Self—Esteem Inventory: Adult Form (Coopersmith, 1987) were used to assess the therapeutic effectiveness of the model. A one group pre-post repeated measures design was used. Seven subjects were assessed both before and after participation in a ten week self-validation intervention program. Individual interviews were conducted on the fourth week after the program was completed to assess each subject’s experience in the group. There was a significant difference between the pre-test and post-test means of the Self-Esteem Inventories (t = -3.71, df = 6, p < .01) and the Nungesser Homosexual Attitudes Inventories (t = -2.90, df = 6, p < .027). This provided support for the use of the Self-Validation Model with gay men. There was no significant difference between the pre-test and post-test means for the total scores of the Self—Critical Cognition Scale and the Social Avoidance Tendency Scale. The qualitative data collected from the interviews provided additional support for the use of the Self- Validation Model as a therapeutic tool with gay men. It was reported that the opportunity to discuss personal issues in the broad context that the model provided was particularly helpful and appreciated. Family disclosure was found to be an important component of psychological health. Some subjects reported that attempting to integrate a positive gay identity with their ethnic identity posed a serious challenge to their sense of well-being. The results of this study supported the notion that gay issues can be appropriately considered in the area of cross-cultural counselling. This has important implications for providing efficient therapeutic models for counselling gay men. Models which focus too narrowly on the effects of internalized homophobia may lead individuals to over generalize their negative feelings about being gay to encompass the entire self. The model in this study recognized and affirmed all aspects of self and the value and meaning of personal existence and as such provided a useful framework for helping participants achieve a healthy identity and improved psychological health.

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