Coping With Stress as an LGBTQ+ Health Care Professional.J Homosex. 2018; 65(5):561-578.JH
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexual/gender minority (LGBTQ+) health care providers face both general work-related stresses and working in heteronormative settings with ill-informed or hostile coworkers and patients, yet there has been little study of whether the coping strategies are specific to LGBTQ+ stress. We analyzed qualitative data from 277 health care professionals. Sources of stress included religiously and politically conservative coworkers, coworker/patient lack of knowledge, stresses of being closeted, and concerns about being out to patients. Consequences of being out as LGBTQ+ included lack of promotions, gossip, refusals of tenure, and anti-LGBTQ+ comments and behaviors in the workplace. Respondents showed mostly positive coping strategies to deal with stress, including becoming educators/advocates and self-care activities. Self-care options were common in rural areas with few LGBTQ+ social resources. Negative coping strategies were reported by 18% of respondents. The study highlights the extra burden of stress on LGBTQ+ health care providers.