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J Youth Adolesc. 2009 Aug;38(7):1001-14. doi: 10.1007/s10964-009-9397-9. Epub 2009 Feb 24.

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

Author information

1
Northeastern University, School of Health Professions, Institute on Urban Health Research, Stearns Building, Boston, MA 02115, USA. jalmeida@post.harvard.edu

Abstract

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.

PMID:
19636742
PMCID:
PMC3707280
DOI:
10.1007/s10964-009-9397-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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