The Experiences of LGBTQ Adolescents and Young Adults in Rural Appalachia: Identity,
Risk, and Resilience
Instructor: Angie Dahl, Ph.D.
Up to two students interested in the impact of context on one's developmental experiences;
students interested in rural contexts, religion, sexuality, identity, and/or psychology.
During adolescence, youth work to define their own self-concept through increased
emotional independence, as well as increasing autonomy in decisions regarding sexual
behavior, career choice, schooling, values, friendships and more (Coleman & Hendry,
1999). Each of these factors relates to the key task of adolescence: the formation
of identity (Erikson, 1968). For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning
(LGBTQ) youth, this process may be complicated as they attempt to develop a positive
sense of self amidst a heterosexist society. Research has highlighted the importance
of context in this process, noting the resiliency of LGBTQ adolescents and young adults
raised in Appalachian rural contexts. Freshman scholars will have the opportunity
to engage in study dissemination, data collection, and preliminary analysis of both
quantitative and qualitative findings.
Students will initially undergo training to gain broader insight and sensitivity concerning
rural and sexual identity, particularly LGBTQ development. Students will also be given
a broad background in research related to identity. Upon completing this training,
students will pilot the proposed study. Changes will be made to the piloted study
as necessary, and the study will be developed on Pyschdata. Next, students will engage
in participant recruitment and study dissemination for our online study. Students
will create the advertising materials for the study and engage in contacting potential
participants through Facebook advertisements and targeted emails to LGBTQ student
groups. While data collection will begin in early August, it is likely the data collection
will not be completed until mid-September at the earliest. However, students will
be involved in looking at the initial data collected to make needed modifications
to the survey and pinpoint any difficulties with the study.
Angie Dahl, Ph.D.
Dr. Angie Dahl received her B.A. degree in psychology and religion from Concordia
College (Moorhead), a small liberal arts college. It was during this experience where
she became interested in identity development, particularly religious influences on
one's process of self-identification. She completed graduate degrees in both the areas
of religion (Luther Seminary) and clinical, counseling, and school psychology (Utah
State University). Trained as a clinical and counseling psychologist, she continues
to ask questions about the influence of context on one's developmental experiences.
She hopes to use findings from her research to develop preventative and intervention
efforts aimed at providing a safe and healthy developmental experience for adolescents
and young adults.
If you have specific questions about this project, please contact Dr. Dahl directly