Psychology relationship with classmates. Introduction Psychology is

Psychology
is a science which questions the mind and examines behaviours. There
are many different areas of research and one of them is social
psychology. Social psychology is the scientific study of how people
think about, influence and relate to one another within a social
context. Social psychology has two main approaches the mainstream and
the critical. The mainstream approach is undifferentiated from the
regular sciences since they apply indistinguishable strategies. It
uses the quantitative analysis but such analysis does do not reach
underrepresented populations. There is also the critical approach
which questions the social establishments and behaviours or actions
that contribute to the types of oppression and inequality. It offers
the opportunity to gain more insight the subject as it uses the
qualitative method, in which the questions are open ended usually and
the participant has the opportunity to explain the reason behind his
or her actions. In this paper the researcher demonstrates that LGBTQ
psychology can use extensively the critical approach and further
research issues like the relationship with the parents or the
relationship with classmates.

Introduction

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Psychology
is defined as “the science of mind and behaviour”. But it is also
a science that seeks to answer questions about life, behaviour and
how the nature, the culture or other factors affect us. In other
terms, it is a scientific field that has a quest, which is to
describe and explainbehaviour and the mind underlying it. Therefore,
there are many different areas of interest like clinical psychology,
biological psychology and social psychology. Social psychology is the
scientific study of how people think about, influence and relate to
one another within a social context. It utilizes logical strategies
to comprehend and clarify how feelings and conduct of individuals are
affected by the real, envisioned or inferred nearness of other
individuals. Social psychology can help us understand concepts like
self-understanding, social relationships, intergroup relationships
and group performance. In other terms, it is a scientific field
preoccupied with the investigation of social relationships.

Social
psychology has two main approaches the mainstream and the critical.
The mainstream approach is undifferentiated from the regular sciences
since they apply indistinguishable strategies. In many cases in
science, in the analysis of different ideas, the researcher has to
pick or to transform one variable, which will lead to a theory test.
This approach is likewise like the characteristic science. The
mainstream is integrative in nature, drawing from many psychological
theories and many areas of research’ (Graziano, 2007,
p.24). It uses more quantitative data, to measure the population on a
given positive or negative scale. Quantitative research quantitative
research is the systematic empirical investigation of observable
phenomena via statistical, mathematical or computational techniques
(Given, 2008). But nowadays it is believed that quantitative methods
have limitations, since such studies do not provide insights on the
reasoning behind participants’ responses. Also they often do not
reach underrepresented populations, and they may span long periods in
order to collect the data.

Whereas,
according to Mercer & Clayton (2012, p. 182) “Critical social
psychology has largely evolved from challenges to what is referred to
as the mainstream.” The difference in this approach is that it
questions the social establishments and behaviours or actions that
contribute to the types of oppression and inequality. Traditionally,
in order to be scientifically meaningful a psychological phenomenon
must be quantified and measured, but this approach takes into
consideration social theories like feminism and Marxism and it
follows how society works since it does not just take into
consideration one group, but it allows diversity and inequality to
form the theoretical framework. It uses the qualitative research,
which it is more suitable when the researcher tries to identify
common patterns and to examine more the views of the participants.
Consequently, the analysis explores new ideas that emerge from the
themes and then the theories are formed when there are meaningful
patterns of behaviour and thoughts (Guest, 2012, p.11).
The main difference between the qualitative and the quantitative
method is the way that the questions are posed. In the quantitative
method the questions are measurable and the analysis requires
statistical tools, whereas in the qualitative method the researcher
asks why and the analysis is based on the context of the answer.

Still the
mainstream approach is popular worldwide and this is because it gives
the opportunity to address the study to many people and to have the
validity that a vast number of participants provide. But, it does not
include the different views and it fails to portrait the insights and
the ideas behind the behaviour. It does not explain the patterns it
just confirms or not the researcher’s assumptions. Therefore, it
might not have validity in another social context. What it is needed,
it is a balanced view of the social perception, which it is
influenced strongly by change. Social environments change constantly
from various reasons, such as a war, physical disaster or
technological progress. Therefore, several researchers try to explain
behaviours and to adapt it in an universal concept.

For
instance, Asch conducted a well-known experiment on conformity. Asch
conformity research is examined and reproduced in many different
cultures. There is an interesting meta-analysis which favours that
every time they tested the hypothesis, the results were similar for
all cultures. As the researchers argue’the study has been conducted
in different regions around the world and the results has been
confirming the theory on conformity’ (Bond & Smith, 1996).
Although the participants were from different cultures, not all the
subgroups were included and moreover the participants did not have
the chance to explain their behaviour.There is no information for the
participants concerning their beliefs and ideas. Why did they reacted
in a particular way? Furthermore, until recently most of the
participants were white, heterosexual men and usually students.

Critical
social psychology takes into consideration more personal data than
the mainstream approach and most importantly the participants explain
why. They are given the opportunity to explain. The researcher
identifies the similar trends and ideas. There are numerous examples
of understudied subgroups within the society, that now have the
chance to state their difference and explore their ideas. Considering
mainstream psychology, we should be sceptical towards the information
and the theories on homosexuality.

Forinstance
a few years ago the DSM-III included homosexuality as a mental
illness. Through the years this notion has changed, but there are not
many studies that embrace it or that underline the difference.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer or LGBTQ psychology is
concerned with sexuality, it has a much broader focus, examining many
different aspects of the lives of LGBTQ people including prejudice
and discrimination, parenting and families, and coming out and
identity development (Riggs & Ellis, 2017). It is the scientific
field that concentrates on the lives and experiences of LGBTQ people.
It is important to mention that the primary focus is not in sexuality
in various aspects of life, from motherhood to identity development.

Recently a
psychotherapeutic study underlined that neither science nor
psychotherapy can be separated from values (Russell ,
2007). Values are important for a person’s development and apart
from the political there are the personal, the cultural and the
social. They are also shaped from the personal experiences, the
thoughts and the role that a person has within its family and society
(Russell &Bohan, 2007). If we do not take into consideration the
sexual orientation it is difficult if not impossible to help the
person. Since the challenges that the person faces are not identified
and understood. Such separation between the personal and the social
self fails to give an in depth meaning to the interventions needed
and the plan or the strategy the person’s well-being. Through
research we can understand that such process moves beyond the therapy
hour(Russell , 2007).

Looking
further into the challenges that the families face and the support
the person can receive,it is easily understood the lack of literature
on family support. There are not many studies on this matter, which
is a surprisingfactif we consider the physical and emotional problems
that the LGBT youngsters face. The health risks are well known but
still understudied. The family is surely important but there is not
enough evidence on the role it plays and most importantly how it can
help the young man or woman. Parental acceptance and rejection are
different constructs, hence it refers to the behaviour of two parties
first of the young person, who feels ready to share his identity and
second of the behaviour and thoughts of the parents and of the rest
of the family. Still the research is limited although, it is already
given the link between parental rejection and negative health
outcomes (Ryan, Russell, Huebner, Diaz & Sanchez, 2010). The same
study assessed the relationship between family rejection in
adolescence and the health of LGB young adults (Ryan, Huebner, Diaz,
& Sanchez, 2009). The results showed clear associations between
parental rejecting behaviours during adolescence and the use of
illegal drugs, depression, attempted suicide, and sexual health risk
by LGB young adults.

On the
other handaffirmation or acceptance of LGBT adolescents is associated
with positive adjustment and decreased mental health and behavioural
health risks in young adulthood: higher self-esteem, increased social
support, and better general health status, along with decreased
depression, substance abuse, sexual risk behaviour, suicidal
ideation, and behaviours.(Ryan, Russell, Huebner, Diaz & Sanchez,
2010)

Almeida and
he colleagues in 2009, conducted a survey and they evaluated
emotional distress among 9th–12th grade students, and examined
whether the association between being lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or
transgendered and emotional distress was mediated by perceptions of
having been treated badly or discriminated against because others
thought they were gay or lesbian. The survey took place in Boston and
the results showed that perceived discrimination accounted for
increased depressive symptomatology among LGBT males and females, and
accounted for an elevated risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation
among LGBT males (Almeida, Johnson, Corliss, Molnar & Azrael,
2009). There should be more research examining this issue and in a
more cross-cultural context as the values may value. Even with just
one study it is shown that the mental health of the individuals is
deeply affected.

Additionally,
it is important to discuss about the prejudice that LGBT members
face. Again the research findings are limited. In 2006 a research
tried to define the anti-homosexual prejudice. It was attempted to
examine how queer theory might enrich the social psychological
inquiry by challenging assumptions about the politics of doing
scientific work and the utility of identity-based sexual
politics.(Hegarty& Massey, 2006). In summary, there are many
inquiries that need to be addressed and the mainstream psychology
does not provide the means for a deep understanding in the subject.
Recent developments emphasize the significance of sexual orientation
in development and it was proposed the creation of psychology courses
devoted to ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender’ (LGBT)
content that would focus on the need of an intersectional pedagogical
approach, which will promote equality. (Case & Lewis, 2012)

In
conclusion, social psychology is concerned with the study of the
people living in a society and how the society influence them. There
are two main approaches that research is conducted. The first is the
traditional mainstream one, where quantitative methods are used, in
order to examine a hypothesis. The critical social psychology, on the
other hand, tries to find insights in the thoughts and the behaviour.
The researchers are asking questions and the participants have the
opportunities to explain the thought behind their actions. In this
way previous non-existing fields can now be researched more. In
addition, understudied groups can now be further studied and form new
scientific fields such as LGBT psychology.