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Fear of Discrimination causes LGBT Teens Distress August 23, 2009

Posted by Geekgirl in psychology, social, Teens.
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A recent publication on LGBT teens and emotional distress. LGBT teens are at higher risk for depression and thoughts of suicide. The cause? Discrimination and the resulting emotional distress. I know what you are thinking. Tell me something I don’t already know. Here’s what I’m thinking. Share this with anyone who tells you that this is not the cause. And be sure to point out to them that the researchers are from Harvard University.

J Youth Adolesc. 2009 Aug;38(7):1001-14. Epub 2009 Feb 24.Links

Emotional distress among LGBT youth: the influence of perceived discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Almeida J, Johnson RM, Corliss HL, Molnar BE, Azrael D.

Northeastern University, School of Health Professions, Institute on Urban Health Research, Stearns Building, Boston, MA 02115, USA. jalmeida@post.harvard.edu

The authors evaluated emotional distress among 9th-12th grade students, and examined whether the association between being lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgendered (i.e., “LGBT”) and emotional distress was mediated by perceptions of having been treated badly or discriminated against because others thought they were gay or lesbian.

Data come from a school-based survey in Boston, Massachusetts (n = 1,032); 10% were LGBT, 58% were female, and ages ranged from 13 to 19 years.

About 45% were Black, 31% were Hispanic, and 14% were White.

LGBT youth scored significantly higher on the scale of depressive symptomatology. They were also more likely than heterosexual, non-transgendered youth to report suicidal ideation (30% vs. 6%, p < 0.0001) and self-harm (21% vs. 6%, p < 0.0001).

Mediation analyses 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. Perceived discrimination is a likely contributor to emotional distress among LGBT youth.

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