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Am J Community Psychol. 1993 Aug;21(4):421-48.

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth in community settings: personal challenges and mental health problems.

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Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University 16802.


Studied 194 lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth aged 21 and younger who attended programs in 14 community centers to determine the personal challenges they face due to their sexual orientation and their responses to these stresses. First awareness of sexual orientation typically occurred at age 10, but disclosure to another person did not occur until about age 16. There was much variability in sexual behavior, and many youths reported both same-sex and opposite-sex sexual experiences. Although most had told at least one family member about their sexual orientation, there remained much concern about family reactions. Suicide attempts were acknowledged by 42% of the sample. Attempters significantly differed from nonattempters on several milestones of sexual orientation development, social aspects of sexual orientation, parents' knowledge of sexual orientation, and mental health problems.

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