"Making the best of both worlds"
: a constructivist grounded theory study of Chinese Gay Men in Britain

  • Terence Sergeant

Student thesis: PsychD


Despite constituting a sizeable minority ethic group and having been present for some considerable time, there is dearth of research on the lives of Chinese communities in the United Kingdom (UK), particularly those who identify as non-heterosexual. Using an intersectional framework and a constructivist grounded theory methodology, the present study aimed to produce a mid-range theory to clarify the main concerns of Chinese gay men who have migrated to the UK, and to understand and explain their responses to those experiences. Eight participants who self-identified as Chinese gay males took part in semi-structured interviews that were analysed using methods consistent with a constructivist grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2014). The findings propose that participants' two biggest concerns relate to (1) disclosing their sexual identities to their families and at work, (2) and feeling rejected by other gay men due to a combination of sexual racism and sexual objectification. In response to these challenges, Chinese gay men utilise a range of coping strategies that include the use of psychological therapies. A core category, "making the best of both worlds" reflects the continual process by which men integrate the benefits of the two (or more) seemingly opposed alternatives, whilst navigating a whole host of psychological obstacles within a complex power structure, in order to be successful in their personal and professional lives. The findings are discussed in relation to their relevance to their profession of counselling psychology. Recommendations for practice and policy are considered.
Date of Award17 Oct 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorIgi Moon (Supervisor) & Edith Steffen (Supervisor)


  • Ethnicity
  • Sexuality
  • Gay
  • Chinese
  • Grounded theory
  • Counselling psychology

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