Lesbian PhD student Katie Palmer du Preez has seen a wealth of research from within New Zealand and internationally that suggests that young lesbian-identified women are over-represented in negative health statistics – for example, young lesbians are twice as likely to be binge drinking and three times as likely to be drinking at risky levels compared to heterosexual women. She has also found that young lesbians are a particularly under researched group. Her new study seeks to change that.
Katie wants to speak to women quite broadly about a range of topics relating to health and wellbeing. Some areas she is interested in follow a recent survey of 345 lesbian health researchers and practitioners in the US, which found that priority areas of research into young lesbian life include depression, quality of life, internalised homophobia, resilience, ageing, alcohol abuse, weight management, the coming out process, intimate partner violence, smoking prevention/cessation, parenting, cancer, youth and social support.
“Ideally I’d like to speak to women twice, about a week apart, because we find that talking about identity can be quite a challenging topic to tackle,” says Katie. “We find that by giving people a week to reflect on the first interview, we get a lot of interesting information the second time around.”
Katie is seeking 15 women – five each from Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington to speak to her in two one-hour sessions.
“I’m looking for a full picture – a study that’s more in-depth and looks at marginalisation issues, coping mechanisms and how they manage their lives, rather than labouring on suicide statistics, which we see a lot of.
“My goal is to produce something that’s useful in terms of health policy and ideally something that young lesbians can relate to and I’d also like to use these interviews as a basis for arguing that further research in this field is required.”
If you would like to take part in this study, email email@example.com or phone 09 921 9999 Ext 7640.