SGM Youth Growing into Resilience

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Research Grant (operating grant: $256,888) - Principal Investigator: Dr. André P. Grace

Project Title: Synchronizing Research, Policymaking, and Practice to Assist Sexual and Gender Minority Youth to Grow into Resilience.

Motivation and Core Goal: In Canada, sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer Indigenous, and intersexual youth, are a multivariate population across race, ethnocultural location, and other relational differences. They comprise a particularly vulnerable group that continues to be involved in a paradoxical struggle to be cared about in education and other caring institutions. This grave reality indicates the urgent need for greater synchronicity in research, policy, and practice arenas so stakeholders in Canadian education and complementary caring institutions can collectively help these youth to build capacity (a solutions approach), moving away from unconstructive strategies focused on stigmatizing or fixing these youth as a source of social disorder (a problems approach). The proposed five-year research program focuses on addressing this pressing need, with an emphasis on researching how SGM youth grow into resilience within a process that situates caring professionals as a core asset in achieving this goal.

Objectives: The four core objectives are: (1) to contribute to the emergence of queer critical theory by considering how ways of queer social and cultural theorizing need to be rearticulated as trans-spectrum, Indigenous, and racial theorizing challenge and impact moves in queer theorizing; (2) to investigate further developments and trends in education and other caring institutions in Canada with regard to policymaking and its implementation in caring practices, programs, strategies, and interventions that highlight recognition, access, and accommodation of SGM youth; (3) to investigate how SGM youth, in intersections with race and Indigeneity, grow into resilience where this growth is viewed as a dynamic ecological process enabling youth to (i) deal with stressors, risk-taking, and setbacks in personal, social, and institutional contexts (the risks component) and (ii) move forward to demonstrate positive outcomes and signs of thriving (the resilience component); and (4) to investigate knowledge levels that caring professionals in education and other caring professions have of policies and practices that affirm and accommodate the needs of SGM youth, with the goal of using this study to inform an integrated approach to inform educational and other institutional accommodation.

Methodology: In conducting research with SGM youth and caring professionals, mixed methods research (MMR) will be utilized to increase opportunities for including disenfranchised SGM youth voices on ethical grounds and to bring an array of educators and caring professionals into research designed to inform policymaking and practices focused on SGM youth, their competencies, and their access and accommodation. The proposed MMR with SGM youth and caring professionals will involve conducting individual and group interviews over the five-year period, with each population of research participants engaging in pilot studies to fine tune survey development in year one and completing a survey online early in year two. Arts-based methods will also be used with youth research participants during each of the five years. Diversity in complementary mixed methods for data gathering and diversity in research participants to reflect the multivariate nature of the SGM-youth population will shape the research process.

Significance of the Proposed Research Program: It builds on my multi-level knowledge-praxis bridging methodology to enhance knowledge about resilience as a life-enhancing ecological process and outcome enabled by policy as protection; ethical, supportive caring practices; and positive relationships among SGM youth and caring professionals who emphasize asset building and indicators of thriving.

Family Functioning in Everyday Life

"Family Functioning in Everyday Life: The Experiences of Families with Young Children and Diverse Compositions and Ethno-Cultural Origins."

SSHRC Insight Grant led by Dr. Deanna Williamson, University of Alberta, five-year research grant funded for $489,293.00, 2013-2018.
Research Collaborators: Dr. Kristopher Wells & Michael Phair

Family functioning, a common interest of researchers in many disciplines, refers to processes used by families in their daily lives to meet needs, achieve goals, address challenges, and enhance individual member well-being. This study will examine family functioning of families with young children and diverse compositions and ethno-cultural origins. We will use individual and family group interviews, as well as anecdotes, drawings, and photos produced by families, and a card sort activity to examine interactional processes engaged in by single-parent and same-gender parent families and families of Aboriginal, Chinese, and South Asian origins. We will attend to the ways that family functioning processes are influenced by gender, socioeconomic circumstances, social ideals, and social and economic conditions and policies.