Date of Conferral
The world of sports has traditionally been known for promoting masculine behaviors, including a resistance to homosexuality. Research supports that gay men in sports have historically encountered prejudice and discrimination. Although the social climate has experienced change regarding homophobic discrimination and prejudice, research shows that challenges still exist for gay men who participate in sports; furthermore, to date, research could not be located that addresses the coping skills of gay men in amateur sports. This research addressed the lack of qualitative studies on the experiences of gay men who participate in amateur sports and on their use of coping skills. The purpose of the study was to describe the lived experiences of 8 gay men in amateur sports and to identify the coping skills, whether adaptive or maladaptive, used in sports environments. This study examined current literature on the consequences of prejudice and discrimination against gay men in sports environments. The conceptual framework for this study was based on the minority stress theory. The methodology was a phenomenological inquiry to gain an understanding of the lived experiences of this population. The 3 themes that emerged from the data were situation modification coping, emotion-focused coping, and minority stress. Understanding the experiences of gay men in amateur sports contributes to positive social change by identifying adaptive coping strategies, resulting in positive outcomes such as decreased stress and anxiety. Moreover, the lived experiences provided by this study's participants can provide direction for additional research to improve the experiences of gay men in sports.