Research on resilience focuses on how people recover from stressful situations. This honors thesis addresses resilience in people who experience rejection from their families of origin. A common source of support in the Gay community is chosen families. However, these families are often formed related to a deficit in social support from the original family. Creating families to make up for a lack of social support could be come from a deficit-reduction approach to the need to belong, which is related to lower levels of well-being. To investigate this conceptual inconsistency between resilience and social support from a deficient orientation, I studied if all chosen families are related to resilience, or if only those of individuals with a growth belongingness orientation related to resilience in a sample of college-aged individuals. To answer these questions, I recruited a sample of emerging adults by contacting department chairs at various colleges and universities in the United States. Participants filled out a survey on Google Forms measuring: Social support from their original family; social support from their chosen family; their belongingness orientation; a non-clinical measure of depressive symptoms; and a measure of self-esteem. The results suggested that the relationship between social support and well-being may involve bi-directional causality, where people seek out social support to cope with low self-esteem and high levels of depression, and this may be especially common for people with a high growth belongingness orientation. Future research should include longitudinal studies to better understand this relationship.


Minority Stress, Resilience, LGBTQ Health, Chosen Families

Document Type


Year of Completion





Dr. Nancy Frye

Academic Department


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Psychology Commons