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Same-sex attraction, social relationships, psychosocial functioning, and school performance in early adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 44(1), 59-68

Department of Education, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Wibautstraat 4, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Developmental Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.21). 02/2008; 44(1):59-68. DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.44.1.59
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The authors examined whether 13- to 15-year-old adolescents who experience feelings of same-sex attraction (SSA) differ from those without such feelings in the quality of relationships with parents, peers, and class mentors and in psychosocial functioning (health status and school performance). The authors also assessed whether differences in psychosocial functioning resulted from differences in the quality of social relationships. Data were collected from 866 Dutch high school students (mean age 13.61 years) by means of a computer-based questionnaire. Of the participants, 74 (8.5%) reported having feelings of SSA. The participants with SSA rated the quality of their relationships with their fathers and their peers lower than did those without SSA. Participants with SSA also had poorer mental health (higher levels of depression and lower levels of self-esteem) and lower school performance. A mediation analysis revealed that differences in psychosocial functioning resulted from differences in the quality of the same-sex attracted youths' social relationships, especially with fathers and peers.

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    • "Though research looking at the effect of father involvement or the father-son relationship on the health and wellbeing of young gay and bisexual men (YGBM) is scarce, the existing research supports further inquiry. For example , in a Dutch study, Bos et al. (2008) observed that the quality of adolescents' relationships with their father partially mediated the relationship between SSA and increased mental health symptoms. At present, it is unknown what features of the father-son relationship may serve to protect sexual minority youth from stress or how masculinity may shape these processes. "
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    • "Findings from this study have implications at both macro and micro levels. Youth, especially SMY, would benefit greatly from school services that recognize links between academic performance and the degree to which the social environment is perceived to be inclusive, accepting, and safe (Bos et al., 2008). As perceived discrimination is significantly associated with poor school performance, schools are encouraged to take concrete action to eradicate discriminatory practices by students and school personnel. "
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