Minority Stress in the Context of Rural Economic Hardship: One Lesbian Mother's Story

Shawn N. Mendez, Elizabeth Grace Holman, Ramona Faith Oswald, Dina Izenstark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we use case study methodology to provide a detailed description of the life of Lucy, a single, lesbian mother living in a rural community on a low income. Using the lens of stigma and minority stress theory (Meyer, 2003), we highlight the ways in which sexual-minority stress interacts with other life stressors, and analyze how they affect health and well-being. Four main themes emerged to describe Lucy's understanding of these stress processes: the intersection of her identities as a local, lesbian mother; the portability or mobility of these identities; conflicting messages of support and hostility; and the permanent or transitory nature of her stress. We contribute to the literature by examining the tenets of Meyer's original minority stress model and extending its theoretical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-511
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 19 2016


  • Economic hardship
  • familial relationships
  • identity salience
  • lesbian mother
  • minority stress
  • rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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