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Hypothesis for the Study on Covid-19 and Sexual Minority Individuals

Peterson, Z. D., Vaughan, E. L., & Carver, D. N. (2020). COVID-19-related psychological reactions as a Function Of Sexual Identity. Traumatology. Advance online publication.

In this particular paper, the author puts forward two hypotheses. In the first hypothesis, the author is of the belief that individuals belonging to the sexual minority will be experiencing deteriorating mental health in association with Covid-19 in comparison to individuals belonging to the sexual majority. In the second hypothesis, the author believes that differences in mental health for the sexual majority and minority individuals are likely to disappear if childhood trauma and social isolation in the course of the pandemic are controlled.

To conduct the research for the hypotheses testing, a sample consisting of 170 participants was taken from online sources that included social media platforms, Reddit forums related to gender, Covid-19 and LGBTQ+, Craigslists sites, and website postings. For the selection of participants, ads were posted at the time when social distancing norms in the United States were at their peak. The participants to be selected for the research should follow the age criteria of being 18 or above in order to be eligible for the same. Out of the selected sample of participants, 114 participants identified as heterosexual constituting the sexual-majority category and the remaining participants constituted the sexual-minority category including members who identified themselves as bisexual, asexual, pansexual, homosexual and a few of them did not use any label to identify themselves. The participants were asked to read and give their consent to an online statement through a link in the advertisement. They were asked to answer criteria to assess if they were eligible for the study and finally proceed to a questionnaire. Participants could remain anonymous or had the liberty to give their contact information for further research.

The author finds out that the results were consistent with the first hypotheses proposed. It was found that individuals under the sexual-minority subsample reported falling mental health symptoms like distress and peritraumatic stress reactions. However, pieces of evidence found did not support the fact that sexual-minority individuals were more inclined to be socially isolated than sexual-majority individuals. A major limitation can be the fact that contact was measured instead of emotional and social support. In conclusion, the pandemic was found to be a reason for trauma at a global level.

The author says that the findings from the conducted survey showed consistency with the minority stress theory and that sexual minorities were more susceptible to the negative impacts of the pandemic. The results were preliminary based on small sample size. Differences in childhood trauma cannot be held responsible for differences in sexual identity in peritraumatic distress. Following from the minority stress theory, some of the sexual minority individuals may face discrimination and rejection on the basis of their sexual identity which reduced their sources of coping resulting in falling mental health. However, alcohol usage as a function of sexual identity portrayed no difference. Almost one-third of the participants reported of increases alcohol intake during the pandemic to cope with the distress faced.

Methodology for the Study on Covid-19 and Sexual Minority Individuals

In the study conducted by the author, bisexuals were overrepresented as compared to gays and lesbians. Earlier studies have shown that individuals who identified as bisexuals were more susceptible to psychological vulnerabilities as they often experience heterosexism and denial of bisexuality combined with stereotypical views. Gender minorities could not be included in the study due to small numbers. Individuals belonging to the gender minority communities can face more psychological effects which need to be researched with the help of a larger sample. A follow-up study can be conducted to evaluate the impact of the pandemic after the health restrictions are lifted. Another aspect that provides prospects for future research includes a unique response mechanism with respect to sexual minorities and posttraumatic growth that can be explored in response to the pandemic to show that sexual minorities are not only the most vulnerable to trauma but also resilient in a unique way. The resiliency portrayed can be attributed to the fact that with the help of resources including group support and solidarity, sexual minorities can show signs of coping in the face of stress.

Gesselman AN, Ta VP, Garcia JR (2019) Worth a thousand interpersonal words: Emoji as affective signals for relationship-oriented digital communication. PLoS ONE 14(8): e0221297. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0221297

The author in this paper tried to put forward two directions of his research. The first study examines the association of emoji or emoticon use on the success of the intimate relationship. The examination tried to evaluate the fact that the use of emoticons might be connected with the concerned individuals going on more dates or having sexual encounters. The second study is an extension of the first study conducted by the author. It proceeds to examine whether the rate at which individuals without a partner use emojis with potential dates is related to their successful endeavors in terms of establishing intimate connections.

For the first study, a pool of single American adults was selected. Out of the participants aged between 18 to 94 years, almost 86.8 percent of individuals identified themselves as straight or heterosexual and the remaining individuals identified as gay/lesbian and bisexual. The selected participants were recruited from opt-in research panels based on demography like age, gender, religion, income, and ethnicity of the individuals and collected from the social network.  The criteria for being eligible for the survey were 18 years and the candidate should have fluency in English along with being single in terms of romantic relationship. With respect to the second study too, participants who were single American adults were selected. The rest of the procedure and eligibility criteria were the same as for the first study. The involved participants were handed a project description and an information sheet before the survey was conducted. Their consent was taken through online portals.

Findings of the Study on Covid-19 and Sexual Minority Individuals

From the first study, it was found that almost 30 percent of the collected sample of participants agreed to the usage of emojis or emoticons on a regular basis with dates as that provided a better pathway for expressing themselves in contrast to text messages. There was a close association of emojis with more first dates and increased frequency in sexual activities. From the second study too, the participants reported having used emojis frequently with their potential dates. Though the rate of emoji usage was not linked to the number of first dates, it was related to the maintenance of connections with the first dates.

Through the study, the author shows that emojis help individuals to better understand human social psychology in the digital world as receiving and producing emotions is essential for communication and the establishment of bonds among individuals. Affect is at the center of a human’s social behavior and courtship. Affect and emotions provide signals to individuals to examine their potential dates. After the first interaction with the potential date, affects plays a crucial role to determine interpersonal communication like the development and maintenance of relationships. However, in today’s digital world where most individuals look for romantic relationships and partners through the internet, it becomes difficult to express emotions. Hence, the role of emojis is commendable for expressing feelings and interpreting emotions effectively. From the first study, it was clear that people who use emojis to convey emotions do better in the establishment of relationships giving rise to more dating and sexual behaviors. Further, in the second study, it was clear that participants frequently sent emojis to their partners which had an association with securing a second date with the potential partners, thereby, creating opportunities for romantic as well as sexual interactions.

One major limitation of the study that can be determined was the perception of the recipient of the emojis since different individuals hold the possibility of interpreting the messages through emojis in a different way. Another aspect that was not assessed was causality. It is difficult to determine if sending more emojis is associated with more dates and sexual interactions. It can be speculated that the use of emojis has been related to better relationships with high levels of emotional intelligence. However, studies in the long term will be better to answer these queries. It was not assessed as to which emojis have the most potential to form relations between people. To discuss further, the sample participants selected were English speakers and these results can vary across various cultures and languages. These are some possible gaps in the research that can be worked on in the future. Future research can also be done on the use of emojis to connect in the field of social psychology and relationship science. These forms of non-verbal communication between individuals are important in the generation of affection. Positive texts are seen to have the potential of increasing satisfaction from relationships. Hence, further research can be done to see how these non-verbal modes of communication are interpreted and their impacts on romantic and sexual relationships of individuals.

References

Gesselman, A.N., Ta, V.P. and Garcia, J.R., 2019. Worth a thousand interpersonal words: Emoji as affective signals for relationship-oriented digital communication. PloS one, 14(8), p.e0221297.

Peterson, Z.D., Vaughan, E.L. and Carver, D.N., 2021. Sexual identity and psychological reactions to COVID-19. Traumatology, 27(1), p.6.

Cite This Work

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My Assignment Help. (2022). Impact Of Covid-19 On Sexual Minority Individuals: A Study On American Adults' Essay On Emojis And Intimate Relationships.. Retrieved from https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/smf204-introduction-to-human-sexuality/function-of-sexual-identity-file-A1DF149.html.

"Impact Of Covid-19 On Sexual Minority Individuals: A Study On American Adults' Essay On Emojis And Intimate Relationships.." My Assignment Help, 2022, https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/smf204-introduction-to-human-sexuality/function-of-sexual-identity-file-A1DF149.html.

My Assignment Help (2022) Impact Of Covid-19 On Sexual Minority Individuals: A Study On American Adults' Essay On Emojis And Intimate Relationships. [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/smf204-introduction-to-human-sexuality/function-of-sexual-identity-file-A1DF149.html
[Accessed 13 July 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Impact Of Covid-19 On Sexual Minority Individuals: A Study On American Adults' Essay On Emojis And Intimate Relationships.' (My Assignment Help, 2022) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/smf204-introduction-to-human-sexuality/function-of-sexual-identity-file-A1DF149.html> accessed 13 July 2024.

My Assignment Help. Impact Of Covid-19 On Sexual Minority Individuals: A Study On American Adults' Essay On Emojis And Intimate Relationships. [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2022 [cited 13 July 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/smf204-introduction-to-human-sexuality/function-of-sexual-identity-file-A1DF149.html.

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