LGB Discrimination and Diminished Sense of Belonging: The Role of Community Leisure Facility Use As a Buffer

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:15
Location: Dachgeschoss (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Lindsay KALBFLEISCH, University of Waterloo, Canada
Steven MOCK, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Margo HILBRECHT, University of Waterloo, Canada
Despite progress towards equality, sexual minority adults (e.g. lesbian, gay, bisexual; LGB) continue to experience discrimination. Discrimination undermines a sense of belonging to the community (Meyer, 2003). Leisure participation can be a valuable resource for coping with marginalization. In particular, recreation facility use may enhance sense of belonging. Thus, community facility use maybe an important resource for LGB adults to overcome the alienation that stems from discrimination.

To test this, we draw on data from a group of community-based surveys collected by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW). The purpose of these surveys was to collect information on quality of life in diverse communities focusing on municipal facility use, health and wellbeing, and sense of belonging. The full sample size for this project was approximately 6900. We focus on the 125 individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Among the LGB adults mean age was 54 (SD= 14) and 58% were women. Discrimination was assessed by asking participants to rate how often they feel discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. Participants also rated their sense of belonging as well as how regularly they used 11 different municipal leisure facilities (e.g. library, park, etc.) in the past year.

In linear regression analyses the more discrimination LGB adults felt, the lower their sense of belonging to the community was. Facility use was tested as a buffer in an interaction term (discrimination X facility use) that was statistically significant. Probing of this interaction showed that at high levels of facility use there was no significant association of discrimination with sense of belonging (b= 0.06, p= n.s.), but at low levels of facility use discrimination was associated with diminished sense of belonging (b= -0.39, p< 0.01).  This finding suggests facility use buffers the impact of LGB discrimination on feelings of alienation.