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Common grounds: A phenomenological study of plant parenting and the well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals

Beaumont, Marcella A.
A growing body of research suggests the innate need for humans to interact and connect with nature. Research has highlighted the innumerable physical and psychological benefits to these connections with nature and indicates that time spent with nature could increase overall well-being. However, the majority of research focuses on heterosexual, cisgender individuals. With the myriad of mental health concerns that LGBTQ+ individuals face, there is a call for researchers to continue to understand more about how LGBTQ+ people cope with such adversity. One way researchers can address this gap is by exploring how LGBTQ+ people interact with their plants. Research suggests that time spent in nature while purposefully interacting with various aspects of nature can cultivate a state of mindfulness, potentially decreasing stress and improving well-being. However, there is limited research on how this dynamic may impact LGBTQ+ individuals specifically. Through a phenomenological interview study of 25 LGBTQ+ people that utilizes the minority stress model, I explore the lived experiences that LGBTQ+ people have with their plants and how this shapes their mental and emotional well-being. Findings indicate that many participants felt that their plants contributed to their overall well-being in a myriad of ways. Some discussed how their plants have helped them be more intentional about their self-care while others shared how their plants foster a sense of community. Implications for clinical practice, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.