Date of Graduation

Winter 12-15-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)


School of Nursing and Health Professions




Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Dellanira Garcia

Second Advisor

Khashayar Farhadi Langroudi

Third Advisor

Saralyn Ruff


This qualitative study used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to explore the lived experiences and meaning making of former foster youth of color who identify as both ethnic-racial minorities and as either gender or sexual minorities. A total of three participants took part in this study. All participants identified as a former foster youth with at least one foster care placement in the United States, as an ethnic-racial minority, and as a gender or sexual minority. In the lived experiences of the participants three themes, and several subthemes, emerged: identity, cultural prejudice, and power dynamics. The findings supported the hypothesis former foster youth with intersecting ethnic-racial minority identities and queer identities face complex interactions at home and in the foster care system. These interactions included identity concealment and exploration being modulated by caregivers, culturally prejudicial treatment from caregivers and the foster care system at large, and power dynamics between caregivers and foster youth. The compounding influences were found to lead to experiences of anticipated stigma and harm, internalized self-hatred, and social isolation. This study found buffers to these negative experiences as increasing foster youth agency, acceptance and understanding of minority identities, and a perception of caregivers as authentically compassionate.