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J Youth Adolesc. 2010 Oct;39(10):1134-47. doi: 10.1007/s10964-010-9566-x. Epub 2010 Jul 1.

Sexuality related social support among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth.

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Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Lesbian, gay, and bisexual ("LGB") youth may face significant stressors related to their sexual orientation. Few studies, however, have examined youth's experiences of support for coping with these stressors. The current study compared LGB youth's perceptions of support for sexuality stress to their support for other types of problems. The links between sexuality stress, sexuality support, and emotional distress were also examined. Ninety-eight LGB youth (ages 18-21, 33% female) rated support from family, heterosexual friends, and sexual minority friends for dealing with problems related, and not related, to their sexuality. From family and heterosexual friends, support for sexuality stress was less available than support for other stressors. Sexual minority friends provided the highest levels of sexuality support. In regression analyses, higher levels of sexuality support related to decreased emotional distress and buffered against the negative effects of sexuality stress on emotional distress. Sexuality support, although less available than other types of support, may be especially relevant to mental health among LGB youth.

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