Oskar Filip Kaleta

Thesis title:

Stress Vulnerability in Sexual Minorities: Genetic and Environmental Influences


Being vulnerable to life stress may be involved in
the higher burden of common mental health
problems in lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB)
people. But this has not been investigated directly.
Understanding stress responses is important
because poor mental health in minorities results in
worse quality of life, poor well-being, slower
recovery from stress, and increased healthcare
utilisation. This PhD will compare physical and
psychological responses to stress in the laboratory
in LGB and heterosexual men and women. It will
also test identical twins who have the same or
different sexual orientations in order to unpack
genetic and environmental influences on the stress
responses. Such twin pairs are particularly useful in
helping to identify important environmental or
psychosocial factors while controlling for genetics.
In year 1 of the PhD, I will develop techniques for
eliciting stress in the laboratory that are tailored to
capture the unique types of stress experienced by
LGB people, recruit non-twin and twin samples, and
learn research including measuring physical stress
responses (such as heart rate and eye-blink
responses), and advanced statistics. I will also pilot
test the stress tasks. In years 2 and 3, I will conduct
my formal testing of the participants (twins and nontwins),
conduct tests of genetic and environmental
influences, identify any psychological factors that
influence responses to stress between the groups,
analyse, write-up and disseminate the findings.

First supervisor:

Qazi Rahman


2-Life Course, Psychology, & Health



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