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In Proceedings of the ACM on human-computer interaction

LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) individuals are at significantly higher risk for mental health challenges than the general population. Social media and online communities provide avenues for LGBTQ+ individuals to have safe, candid, semi-anonymous discussions about their struggles and experiences. We study minority stress through the language of disclosures and self-experiences on the r/lgbt Reddit community. Drawing on Meyer's minority stress theory, and adopting a combined qualitative and computational approach, we make three primary contributions, 1) a theoretically grounded codebook to identify minority stressors across three types of minority stress-prejudice events, perceived stigma, and internalized LGBTphobia, 2) a machine learning classifier to scalably identify social media posts describing minority stress experiences, that achieves an AUC of 0.80, and 3) a lexicon of linguistic markers, along with their contextualization in the minority stress theory. Our results bear implications to influence public health policy and contribute to improving knowledge relating to the mental health disparities of LGBTQ+ populations. We also discuss the potential of our approach to enable designing online tools sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Saha Koustuv, Kim Sang Chan, Reddy Manikanta D, Carter Albert J, Sharma Eva, Haimson Oliver L, DE Choudhury Munmun


LGBTQ+, Reddit, mental health, minority stress, social media, stigma