New Study of Gay/Bisexual Adolescent Men and Their Parents
A new study investigates relationships between gay teens and their parents.
Posted Sep 18, 2013
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents are at substantially elevated risk for a variety of negative health outcomes and risk behaviors compared to their heterosexual peers, including mental health problems1-3, suicide4-6, and substance use4,7-9. Furthermore, adolescent and young adult gay and bisexuals are the only risk group in which rates of new HIV infections are on the rise10. Unfortunately, very little research has sought to understand these health disparities between LGB and heterosexual adolescents. Even less has focused on identifying factors that might promote resilience against negative health outcomes, such as family support.
From research with heterosexual adolescents, we know that parents are powerful agents of health promotion for youth11,12. Various family processes, including support and communication styles, are factors associated with resilience that are widely recognized as critical components of the healthy development of youth13, but almost nothing is known about the ways in which the family sets the stage for healthy development among adolescent gay and bisexual males. Recent research has found that family support is linked to various health outcomes in these youth, including less frequent substance use14 and lower levels of psychological distress15, sexual risk behaviors16, and HIV infection17. However, there has been little to no research to date that has involved the parents of gay and bisexual adolescents themselves, which omits critical information needed to understand these relationships. Understanding the dynamic interactions between parents and adolescents is critical to developing effective family-based interventions for improving health outcomes in gay and bisexual adolescents.
If you are a parent that is interested in participating in this study, click on the following link to see if you and your child are eligible. This important project will help to inform future work that will develop effective prevention program for gay and bisexual adolescents.
Eligibility Screener: https://www.lgbtstudy.org/limesurvey/index.php?sid=15138&lang=en
I look forward to sharing with you the results of this study on the Sexual Continuum blog when they become available.
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14. Newcomb ME, Heinz AJ, Mustanski B. Examining risk and protective factors for alcohol use in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth: a longitudinal multilevel analysis. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. Sep 2012;73(5):783-793.
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16. Schneider J, Michaels S, Bouris A. Family network proportion and HIV risk among black men who have sex with men. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. Dec 15 2012;61(5):627-635.
17. Garofalo R, Mustanski B, Donenberg G. Parents know and parents matter; is it time to develop family-based HIV prevention programs for young men who have sex with men? J Adolesc Health. Aug 2008;43(2):201-204.
About the Sexual Continuum Blog
Dr. Mustanski is the Director of the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program at Northwestern University. You can follow the Sexual Continuum blog by becoming a fan on Facebook. He periodically live tweets from research conferences on sexuality and you can follow him@sexualcontinuum.