A Phenomenological Study of Gay and Lesbian College Students' Spiritual Experiences at Religious Higher Education Institutions

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Despite recent scholarly interest in college students' spirituality and spiritual development, as well as research indicating that students are interested in spirituality and have a strong desire to integrate spirituality into their lives, few researchers have addressed the spiritual experiences of gay and lesbian college students. Utilizing a phenomenological qualitative approach, I explored the spiritual experiences of nine gay and lesbian college students at two religiously affiliated universities in the southwest region of the United States. The ages of the participants ranged from 19 to 23, with a mean of 21. There were five female, three male, and one gender ... continued below

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Bryan, Vanessa Roberts May 2017.

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  • Bryan, Vanessa Roberts

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Despite recent scholarly interest in college students' spirituality and spiritual development, as well as research indicating that students are interested in spirituality and have a strong desire to integrate spirituality into their lives, few researchers have addressed the spiritual experiences of gay and lesbian college students.
Utilizing a phenomenological qualitative approach, I explored the spiritual experiences of nine gay and lesbian college students at two religiously affiliated universities in the southwest region of the United States. The ages of the participants ranged from 19 to 23, with a mean of 21. There were five female, three male, and one gender queer participants. Seven participants identified as white, while the other two participants identified as Hispanic. I identified three major themes related to their lived experience of spirituality: (1) spiritual quest characterized by struggle and pain, (2) finding reconciliation and acceptance, and (3) the importance of support from the university, student groups, friends, and family. Implications for practice included the importance of establishing an official recognized student organization to support gay and lesbian students, creating spaces for personal reflection, meditation, prayer, and solitude as well as safe spaces, the need for educational and outreach programs for faculty, staff, and students, and an evaluation of institutional policies the might negatively impact gay and lesbian students. Suggestions for future research are discussed including the exploration of the impact that faculty members have on students' spiritual growth.

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  • May 2017

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  • July 12, 2017, 3:17 a.m.

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Bryan, Vanessa Roberts. A Phenomenological Study of Gay and Lesbian College Students' Spiritual Experiences at Religious Higher Education Institutions, dissertation, May 2017; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc984178/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .