Sometimes there are tensions between the values of different groups and these are compounded if there is an asymmetry between them.
Ian Meyer tries to explain this phenomenon through his minority stress model. We will then try to see it in detail in order to better understand its approach and the repercussions that this model has for the understanding of this phenomenon.
What is Ian Meyer’s Minority Stress Model?
Ian Meyer’s Minority Stress Model is a system developed by this author to attempt to explain negative consequences on the mental health of persons belonging to minorities linked to sexual orientation like homosexuality or bisexuality, because of the conflict generated by the prejudices that people belonging to the majority group have about them.
What Meyer tried to explain through this model, created in 2003, is that these minority populations would experience a number of stressors linked to their sexual identity and to the perception they have of it from people not. not belonging to these minority groups.
This whole series of stressors, which we will see in detail later, would increase the chances of generating psychological distress and therefore alterations in the mental and even physical health of these individuals. This is precisely what Ian Meyer’s Minority Stress Model attempts to explain.
The key to this model is that declares that the factors which generate stress in these minorities, only act in this direction, so that they do not cause any stress to the individuals of the majority. This issue creates an imbalance, as members of minority groups are affected by a number of problems which only have a negative effect on them when faced with a majority outside the problem.
Stressors for minorities
In Ian Meyer’s Minority Stress Model, different issues could be stressors for these groups. Let’s take a look at some of the most important.
1. Previous experiences of prejudice
The first of the factors that could affect people according to Ian Meyer’s Minority Stress Model would be his own previous experiences in which the individual has had prejudices towards himself or others because of his sexual orientation, i.e. that is, belonging to that minority group, in this case. These experiences may have been there a long time ago and have accumulated.
Each of these events acts like another drop of stress which decreases the individual until he is completely exhausted.Thus, they produce a summative and increasingly intense effect of suffering on the person who sees stigmatized because of his sexual orientation. The memory of these past experiences is a discomfort that can lead to a deterioration in the mental health of the individual.
2. Waiting to be rejected
All those negative experiences in which the person has been discriminated against because of their sexual preferences not only affect them in the past, but also make them uneasy about the future as they generate a series of expectations for them. On what can continue to happen. . In other words, the individual who has already been rejected for his identity in the past is afraid to remain so in the future.
Therefore, this second factor in Ian Meyer’s minority stress model has to do with the double victimization suffered by victims of prejudice and stigma. And it is that not only have they suffered from being rejected before, but they also have the pressure of having to go through the same thing over and over again in the future, with the stress that comes with it.
It makes sense to think that if the person has experienced negative situations before and also fears that it will happen again in the future, they can take steps to prevent this from happening. On many occasions and given the lack of alternatives, they choose cover-up. This results in socially hiding their gender identity, so that they avoid manifesting what they really feel and ultimately who they really are.
Of course, this situation is not easy. Letting go of your own identity is extremely painful and stressful. Consequently, the strategy is ambivalent, on the one hand the person manages to avoid the discomfort caused by criticism from people in the majority group because of prejudice and stigma, but otherwise pays a high cost, Which is to hide a very important part of yourself.
Moreover, sometimes the cover-up doesn’t even have that false positive part of avoiding the stigma, because even if the person hides their gender identity, it does not prevent them from witnessing situations in which the individuals of the majority group somehow reject others from the minority group. In this case, even though the victimization did not happen in the first person, it still affected the viewer.
It should therefore be borne in mind that this factor in Ian Meyer’s Minority Stress Model causes discomfort in several ways. First, because the person is forced to give up their sexual identity in public. Second, because it does not prevent the presence of situations of victimization by one of its minority groups or by others. And third, because his concealment prevents him from going out to defend these victims, so as not to be exposed.
4. Internalized homophobia
In recent years, there have been major social changes in favor of the acceptance of different forms of gender identity. But this does not mean that there is no longer a series of homophobic ideas and beliefs in many people. And most importantly, even among people who are homosexual or belonging to other minorities, it is also possible that there are internalized homophobic ideas.
How is it possible? He must have been brought up under specific diets which, although they clash head-on with the person’s sexual orientation, have long been very present in the individual’s own beliefs. This factor in Ian Meyer’s minority stress model would be another source of discomfort for these groups.
In that case people who experience this internalized homophobia and at the same time belong to minority sex groups will suffer from cognitive dissonanceAs there will be an imbalance between homophobic action (whether commenting, quick thinking, or any other behavior) and your own identity. This process increased the stress of these people.
5. Adaptation process
The last of the main factors that can generate discomfort in Ian Meyer’s minority stress model concerns the adaptation processes that the person may undergo to cope with acts of stigmatization suffered by individuals belonging to the majority group. This behavior also has a negative counterpart.
In that case, although the person tries to avoid being stigmatized, actively confronted with the situation, encounters the possible conflict that this impliesIt is therefore in the attitude of being a victim that you do something or that you decide to do something. This means that in all scenarios there is uncertainty about the possible repercussions.
Therefore, dealing with situations that involve stigma is also a stressful path for the member of the minority group.
Having learned in detail all of the processes underlying Ian Meyer’s Minority Stress Model, we can better understand what this author is referring to in his approach. What all of the factors we have seen described have in common is that they would only affect people whose gender identity puts them in a minority group in this regard.
Thus, the majority group, that is to say the whole group of people who would not have this feeling of belonging to these groups, would not suffer the forms of stigmatization that have been listed and therefore would not be affected. by the possible repercussions of this accumulated stress. , which could translate by psychological problems at the psychological and / or physical level.
- Frost, DM, Lehavot, K., Meyer, IH (2015). Minority stress and physical health of persons belonging to sexual minorities. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Springer.
- Meyer, IH (1995). Minority Stress and Mental Health Among Gay Men. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. JSTOR.
- Meyer, IH, Frost, DM (2013). Minority stress and the health of sexual minorities. CJ Patterson and AR D’Augelli (Eds.), Handbook of Psychology and Sexual Orientation. Oxford University Press.
- Meyer, IH (2015). Resilience in the study of minority stress and the health of sexual and gender minorities. Psychology of sexual orientation and gender diversity.