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An Exploration of the Relationship Between Spirituality, Religion and Mental Health Among Youth Who Identify as LGBT+: A Systematic Literature Review

Abstract

There is a growing interest in addressing spirituality in health care with evidence emerging that personal spiritual and religious practices, and support of these, can influence mental health in a positive way. However, there can be distinct challenges to spiritual expression and mental health issues for youth who identify as LGBT+. The goal of this paper was to undertake a systematic review of the available evidence to investigate the relationship between mental health, spirituality and religion as experienced by LGBT+ youth. A comprehensive literature search was conducted using medical and psychological databases that focused on spirituality, mental health and LGBT+ youth. The search yielded a total of ten articles published in English between May 2008 and June 2018. The key findings highlighted issues around discriminatory attitudes, shame related to disclosure, spirituality as a supportive resource, internalised conflict and external factors around sexual orientation concerns. The psychological, social and health implications are presented and discussed.

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Correspondence to Fiona Timmins.

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McCann, E., Donohue, G. & Timmins, F. An Exploration of the Relationship Between Spirituality, Religion and Mental Health Among Youth Who Identify as LGBT+: A Systematic Literature Review. J Relig Health (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-020-00989-7

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Keywords

  • Spirituality
  • Religion
  • Faith
  • Mental health
  • Sexuality
  • LGBT+
  • Youth