Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Donna Wampole, DSW, LCSW

Second Advisor

Donna Wampole, DSW, LCSW

Third Advisor

Jeannette Andonian, PhD, LCSW


LGBTQ, social media, social networking sites, disabled, chronic illness, social support, identity construction, young adults, emerging adulthood


There is a lack of research about the lived experiences of self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and otherwise-identified (LGBTQ+) young adults with disabilities who use the Internet to achieve particular social aims. Using open-ended survey questions, the researcher applied multidimensional and overlapping frameworks of intersectionality, feminist-disability theory, and social work to answer the following: What are the lived experiences of disabled, LGBTQ+ young adults who use social media for social support and identity construction? Using secondary data, fifteen (N=15) cases of LGBTQ+ disabled young adults aged 18 to 31 living in the United States were selected, and data was analyzed using a phenomenological thematic analysis. The research revealed salient themes, such as community/belonging, access to “others like me,” positive identity formation and protective mental health factors to name a few, each of which respectively facilitated or complicated participants’ motives to use social media platforms. Implications of v the research findings for social science scholars and suggestions for future research are discussed.


Copyright © by Bianca Sturchio, 2020

All Rights Reserved