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Sexual Minority Youth’s Experiences and Perspectives of Parental Support in Canada: Online Focus Groups


Researcher bios and how their research backgrounds relate to this study

Dr. Saewyc is an internationally recognized leader in research about vulnerable and marginalized adolescents. Over the past 20 years, she has conducted mix-methods research with many different groups of vulnerable youth, including runaway and street-involved youth; sexually abused and sexually exploited teens; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Two Spirit, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) adolescents; youth in custody; immigrants, home-stay students and refugees; and Indigenous youth. Her research emphasizes how stigma, violence, and trauma affect adolescent health and risk behaviours, as well as the protective factors that foster resilience among these vulnerable populations of youth.

Her research has influenced public health and policy in Canada, the US, and internationally. She also led SARAVYC in conducting the first Canadian national health survey of transgender youth in 2014, which has influenced clinical practice, human rights cases, and laws.

She has been an invited expert for national and international working groups. Dr. Saewyc held a CIHR Applied Public Health Chair (2008-2014), and has been named a Fellow in the Society for Adolescent Health & Medicine (2011), the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2013) and the American Academy of Nursing (2016). In 2013-2014, she served as 1 of 5 lead authors on the World Health Organization’s report, Health for the World’s Adolescents.

Purpose of this research project

We will conduct several 3-day online focus groups with youth to:

  1. Explore the experiences of youth about being a sexual minority person in their family.
  2. Document the cultural diversity of parental responses to sexual minority youth.
  3. Understand the parental behaviours that are considered to be accepting and supporting by sexual minority youth in Canada.
  4. Understand the parental behaviours that are considered to be rejecting by sexual minority youth in Canada.

How this research will help LGBT2SQ people and communities

Interventions are needed to help all families better support their sexual minority youth, especially for youth and families in rural areas, and youth and families from diverse cultural groups. Through online focus groups, our research will identify culturally specific knowledge to create new, culturally relevant family and youth interventions, to improve their health and reduce the health disparities sexual minority youth face. These interventions will seek to effectively reach youth and their parents in rural as well as urban areas, among diverse cultural groups, in order to improve support, health knowledge, and motivation for healthy coping.


Sexual minority youth (age 15 to 22) who live in Canada


Participants in the focus groups will receive graduated incentives for a total of $30 CAD: $10 for
each day of the focus group that they complete (i.e., respond to all of the questions for that day).

Mitigation measures

Adequacy of Protection against Risks:

These potential risks are taken very seriously by the researchers. No study participant will face any medical, legal, or financial risks. The research team has been involved in a number of studies involving adolescents and has attempted to reduce to the greatest extent possible any risks of the proposed study.

Protection against Risks:

Informed consent: The consent information will be discussed with the candidate over the phone by research staff, or in cases where this is not possible, over email or text. The participant will be given the opportunity to ask any questions. A link to the consent form will be sent via email for their reference. Phone numbers for the PI and the UBC BREB will be listed in the consent form, in case a participant has a question or would like to discuss the study or any concerns.

We have a waiver of parental permission for participants under 18 years of age, primarily because requiring parental consent could increase risk to participants who may be victimized by their parents as a result of their sexual minority status.

Privacy: In order to assure privacy for participants and to minimize risk, we will use technology-based (i.e., online) data collection procedures. This reduces the number of people who view the data and increases self-disclosure on sensitive topics. We will password protect access to the data.

We will assign each participant a random unique identifier in the data set, stripped of all personal information to protect confidentiality. Data sets used for analysis will contain project identification numbers, but not names or any other identifying information such as email address.

We will store identification information separately from the responses provided by participants. Collaborators will receive data stripped of personal identifiers. To ensure complete confidentiality, we will restrict access to the personal identifiers to key program staff, who will have the usernames and passwords to access this information. Reports will not identify individual participants. Dr. Saewyc will oversee the data storage and reporting procedures.

We also will password protect the online bulletin board that we will use for the focus groups. Only enrolled participants will be able to log on, and once the data collection period is over, their access will end. We will encourage participants to create a username that is anonymous and, when sharing information, to only share things that do not reveal their identity. We will ask all participants to keep the discussion private, although this cannot be enforced. It also is possible that someone else may be able to view the computer screen and read the responses given by participants. To reduce this risk, we will remind participants to only engage in the study activity if they are in a safe, private space. Participants will also have the option to log back in for the focus groups or pause and finish it at a later time if they want to.

Promoting the Study

We are recruiting participants nationally. Online advertising is the main method of recruitment, specifically Facebook and Instagram advertising. We are also reaching out to many organizations requesting their support to promote the study.

RainbowHealthOntario @RainbowHealthOn Jul 28

#Research seeking participants: Are you a sexual minority youth (ie: non-heterosexual)? 15-20 years old? Interested……

RainbowHealthOntario @egalecanada Jul 27

Are you a social worker, counselor or healthcare professional wanting to improve 2SLGBTQI inclusion in your practic…

RainbowHealthOntario @RainbowHealthOn Jul 26

#Research seeking participants: A team of LGBTQ+ parents and researchers at the @uofg are conducting a study to lea……

RainbowHealthOntario @RainbowHealthOn Jul 23

The Rainbow Health Ontario 2022 Symposium: LGBT2SQ Health in Focus will explore issues related to disrupted eating……