This issue of "Psychology in Russia: State of the Art", focused on sexual orientation and gender identity, is a step toward meeting that obligation of contributing to the welfare of a stigmatized population, through highlighting current research and theory related to LGBT concerns.
Keywords: Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, Volume 10, Issue 2, 2017, Psychology in Russia: State of the Art
Certainly, many significant and important strides in achieving equality and rights have been made by LGBT individuals and allies across the globe in the last couple decades. After steady progressive movement, we appear to be in the midst of an anti-LGBT backlash in many areas of the world, including Russia and the U.S. At the same time, technology and social media appear to have collapsed the closet, leaving vulnerable, those in most need of privacy and safety.
This critical current state of affairs for LGBT people necessitates that the field of psychology fulfill its mission to create and advance psychological research and knowledge to benefit the world, and to support the health and welfare of all people’s lives, including LGBT individuals. Psychology has a role to play in investigating attitudes and stereotypes that serve to limit people’s potential and livelihoods. Our profession is uniquely positioned with tools to explore and assess the internal experiences of people who find themselves on the margins of society. And our work is bound by ethics codes that state that, “Psychologists integrate ethical considerations into their professional practices, and accept as fundamental the universal moral values, like respect for dignity and self-determination of all persons, and the obligation to contribute to the welfare and development of society (Code of Ethics of the Russian Psychological Society, 2012, p. 1).
This issue of Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, focused on sexual orientation and gender identity, is a step toward meeting that obligation of contributing to the welfare of a stigmatized population, through highlighting current research and theory related to LGBT concerns. Igor I. Lunin, describes his challenging journey as a gay man growing up in Russia, and his transformation into a psychology professional in his adopted home of Canada; he emphasizes the potential benefit of and need for the Code of Ethics of the Russian Psychological Society to serve as a moral compass and a guide in protecting LGBT lives. Veronika V. Nourkova and Anna A. Ivanova explore autobiographical memories of transgender and cisgender individuals, finding that transgender people hold more flashbulb-type and negative childhood memories in comparison to cisgender participants; the presence of vivid memories, the authors assert, may serve as cognitive resources to preserve the gap between early disempowered and later gender affirming identities in the face of experiences of social and family rejection.
Two articles focus on measurement of minority stress, namely Internalized Homonegativity (IH). Alexander A. Yanikin and Andrej D. Nasledov conduct a cross-cultural validation of the Internalized Homonegativity Scale for Gay Men (Mayfield, 2001) with a sample of 92 Russian LGB adults, revealing a two factor structure (Personal Homonegativity and Acceptance of Homosexuality), and find that Personal Homonegativity is related to self-esteem, neuroticism and emotional discomfort. Sharon G. Horne and colleagues provide a Russian language version of the Lesbian Internalized Homophobia Scale, after collecting data from 74 Russian lesbian individuals and conducting reliability and validity analyses as well as a confirmatory factor analysis. They find that some aspects of internalized homonegativity are similar to the U.S., however, there are variations, and three subscales (i.e., Personal Feelings about Being a Lesbian; Moral and Religious Attitudes Towards Lesbians, and Attitudes Toward Other Lesbians) fail to demonstrate crosscultural validity, most likely due to cultural differences in visibility and public acceptance of lesbian identities and relationships. Nurbek Omurov and document the profound psychological agility and necessity of “securityscapes,” the process and consideration of identity disclosure that LGBT individuals in Kyrgyzstan describe undertaking for a sense of security in different life roles. Based on research with 154 college students, Sharon G. Horne and colleagues shed light on demographic and personality factors that may contribute to more positive attitudes toward LGB people in Russia: living in an urban center, knowing more GLB people, and lower neuroticism and conscientiousness on the NEO-FFI scale. Finally, Cornelius J. Victor and Juan A. Nel and colleagues illustrate how the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) fashioned an affirmative position statement for working with people of diverse sexual and gender identities for psychologists. Despite an atmosphere of significant stigma and marginalization of people of diverse sexual and gender identities in South Africa, these psychologists prevailed and the position statement was endorsed; the development and process of the endorsement of the statement is shared here, which will benefit other psychological organizations seeking to adopt affirmative guidelines and policies.
The mental health and well-being of LGBT people are at risk throughout the world due to heterosexism, stigma, and discrimination. Indeed the very lives of LGBT people are on the line. The field of psychology has an obligation and a moral duty to contribute through research and practice to the health and safety of LGBT people. With this special section, the journal, Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, contributes to increasing psychological knowledge and awareness on GLBT concerns.
The topic of “Psychology of sexual and gender identity” is followed by the “Gender- related individual differences” section. It presents quite a different perspective on the notion of gender that is widespread in Russian psychological science. Yury P. Zinchenko, Olga Yu. Zotova and Lyudmila V. Tarasova have revealed specifics of interpersonal trust among people with different gender identities. Evgeni L. Nikolaev, Denis V. Hartfelder and Elvira A. Baranova focus on androgyny in dentists to investigate the contribution of masculinity and femininity to mental health and well-being of these medical professionals.
The “Social psychology” section deals mainly with the issues of social perception of challenging contexts. Tatyana P. Budyakova outlines psychological and legal aspects of the offensiveness of male and female cartoons and collages. Daria V. Pogontseva explores attitudes towards women in hijabs in South Russia with the emphasis on female attitudes. Nikolay I. Leonov and Marianna M. Glavatskikh describe the efficiency of changing the image of a conflict situation while training school students in mediation skills. Finally, Pavel A. Kislyakov analyses the risk factors related to antisocial behavior in teenagers with intellectual disabilities.
The “Clinical psychology” section also contains an article dealing with the difficulties of adolescents, namely, on psychological factors of social anxiety in Russian adolescents, authored by Tatiana S. Pavlova and Alla B. Kholmogorova. The other articles consider medical issues. Daria A. Eremina and Olga Yu. Shchelkova provide empirical data on the dynamics of the cognitive functioning and emotional state of cardiac patients during rehabilitation after coronary revascularization. Arnoldo Téllez with the colleagues evaluate the effect of hypnotherapy on the quality of life in women with breast cancer.