Instagram Use, LGBTQ+ Sexual Identity Clarity, and Self-Acceptance

Edward Noon, Chia-chen Yang, Ondra Pesout, Michał Mikołaj Stefańczyk

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background and Aims
Qualitative evidence suggests that social media can provide LGBTQ+ young people with safer environments for exploration. Yet, few studies have drawn
upon quantitative designs to longitudinally examine the reciprocal relationship between social media use and sexual identity clarity. This research sought to
address this gap in the literature, and also explored whether cultural context moderates these relationships.

Three-wave panel data were collected from LGBTQ+ young people (aged 16-21) in the USA (W1: N = 393), the Czech Republic (W1: N = 544), and Poland
(W1: N = 581). Data collection will finish in June 2022, with an expected final sample of N = 150 per country. Data will be analysed using a RI-CLPM.

Individuals with low sexual identity clarity are expected to use Instagram for exploration more frequently, though the effect of cultural context is unclear. Those
from less accepting contexts may be more exploratory on Instagram, as they may have fewer opportunities in offline contexts. Alternatively, it is possible that
due to fear of negative offline consequences, those in less accepting contexts are less likely to publicly explore on Instagram. Furthermore, we expect that
supportive Instagram content (e.g., positive peer feedback) will positively predict identity clarity, whilst negative content (e.g., anti-LGBTQ+ content) will
negatively predict identity clarity.

Conclusion and Implications
This study provides insight into the benefits and risks associated with using Instagram as an exploratory tool and can support LGBTQ+ young people to make
more informed decisions regarding their behaviour on social media.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2022
EventBritish Psychological Society Cyberpsychology Annual Conference 2022 - Brighton
Duration: 22 Sep 202223 Sep 2022


ConferenceBritish Psychological Society Cyberpsychology Annual Conference 2022


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