Introduction: Project Youth AFFIRM seeks to integrate identity affirmation with cognitive-behavioural interventions that are already known to work. This combined intervention is presented in the form of eight sessions targeted at LGBTTQQ2SA* youth and geared towards reducing risky sexual behaviour and depression.
The Intervention: AFFIRM is a eight module, manualized intervention. It is focused on reducing depression and improving coping and sexual self-efficacy for LGBTTQQ2SA* youth by providing them opportunities to develop identity cognition (self-awareness, identifying risk), mood (recognizing the link between thoughts and feelings), and behaviour (identifying strengths and ways of coping), as well as equipping them with the tools to manage and influence those factors by themselves.
Evaluation: Previous research had described the systematic development of AFFIRM including: (1) clinical case studies, (2) community-based participatory research to inform the proposed AFFIRM model, (3) incorporation of participant feedback into an affirmative and developmentally relevant intervention framework described in a “living” adapted manual.
An Open-Pilot Feasibility Study found AFFIRM significantly reduced depression and appraising stress as a threat, as well as significantly increased reflective coping and perceiving stress as a challenge. Participants found the intervention to be valuable and reported high levels of acceptability and skills acquisition. These promising findings suggest that AFFIRM has potential effectiveness as a community-based intervention for LGBTTQQ2SA* youth.