A Review of Literature: The Mental Wellbeing of Rural LGBTQ+ Adolescents

Kayla Elliott

Authors:  Kayla Elliott, Isidro Jiminez, Dany Fanfan, PhD, RN, Jeanne-Marie R. Stacciarini PhD, RN, FAAN

Faculty Mentor: Jeanne-Marie R. Stacciarini PhD, RN, FAAN

College:  College of Nursing


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning/Queer and other gender diverse (LGBTQ+) youth face many challenges as compared to their Cisgender- Heterosexual counterparts. The current review of literature’s aims are to: 1) Describe the protective factors and stressors related to mental wellbeing in rural adolescents who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community and 2) Describe the mental health issues commonly reported by rural adolescents who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. This is a scoping review of literature, which utilized PubMed, CINHAL and Psych Info databases; reviewing articles about mental wellbeing of LGBTQ+ rural adolescents. In addition, all reference lists were checked. Articles were published in English, in the last ten years. They were then critically appraised using the social ecological model. This review is still ongoing. The major themes are being analyzed as Protective and Risk factors for mental health. Main categories have included protective factors and stressors related to the individual, family, school and community. The mental health issue most commonly reported by rural LGBTQ+ adolescents is depression. The literature also described an increased risk for self-harm and suicidality in rural LGBTQ+ adolescent populations. There is limited research looking specifically at the mental wellbeing of rural LGBTQ+ adolescent populations.

Poster Pitch

Click the video below to view the student's poster pitch.


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15 Responses
  1. Sara

    Hi Kayla! I enjoyed learning about your research; it truly provides valuable information as rural communities may be more at risk for underrepresentation in general. I’m interested in knowing if the review will keep going as it has so far or will there be any changes to methodology?

  2. Kayla Elliott

    Hi Sara! Thank you for your comment. The search is now complete, the review is the only thing that is ongoing, so I do not foresee any changes to methodology going forward for the paper.

  3. Staja Booker

    Hi Kayla,

    Great video and work. This is a very specific and sensitive topic. Do you have any thoughts about how nurse educators should approach this topic in nursing curriculum- in terms of the practice implications to teach students or other colleagues?
    Thinking back to my undergraduate program, we didn’t learn anything on caring for LGBTQ+ individuals. I learned a new concept at a recent conference called “affirming care”.

    1. Kayla Elliott

      Hi Dr. Booker! Thank you! I think that LGBTQ+ community considerations should be taught throughout curriculum where appropriate as we do with elderly, pediatric and pregnancy. I think UF CON did a good job in health assessment as we had a learning burst focused on considerations for Transgender individuals. Another thing that I think can be done is emphasizing a culture of affirmation and acceptance in nursing education through things like gender affirming language and pronoun use.

  4. Great work, Kayla, and such an important and understudied topic (as your results indicated). I would love to peruse your poster further, do you by any change have a higher resolution copy that you would be willing to share?

    I would also love to hear your thoughts on possible recommendations for healthcare workers to promote the well-being of LGBTQ+ adolescents in rural settings? Do you think school nurses might be able to play a role in this?

    1. Kayla Elliott

      Hello Dr. Bjarnadottir, Thank you! I think that a big thing that healthcare workers in rural settings, including school nurses can do is make their space (office, clinic etc.) one that is welcoming and affirming to the LGBTQ+ community. Some ways they can do this is by posting flyers identifying the space as a safe space, and maybe by introducing themselves by including their pronouns, which would welcome all to do the same.

      Would you like me to email you a copy of the PDF of the poster?

  5. Rene Love PhD, DNP

    HI Kayla,

    Great presentation. Did you see more articles related to the topic within an urban setting OR were there just a few articles in general? I wonder if evidence in a broader setting could inform the rural setting to help adolescents. My guess is that they struggle with the same issues- depression/suicidality, no matter the location.

    1. Kayla Elliott

      Hello Dr. Love, Thank you! There was a lot more research done in urban areas. Once when I searching, out of curiosity I omitted the line for rurality in the search strategy and was met with many more papers.