Sexual Health Risks and Protective Resources in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Homeless Youth

University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, USA.
Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing (Impact Factor: 0.92). 01/2005; 10(1):11-9. DOI: 10.1111/j.1539-0136.2005.00003.x
Source: PubMed


To compare sexual health risks and protective resources of homeless adolescents self-identified as gay (G), lesbian (L), or bisexual (B), with those self-identified as heterosexual, and to determine the differences between these two groups and the differences within the GLB group.
A secondary analysis of survey data collected from a nonprobability sample of 425 homeless adolescents between 16 and 20 years of age.
Sexual health risks and protective resources differed between those self-identified as GLB and those self-identified as heterosexual. More G/L youth reported a history of sexual abuse and being tested and treated for HIV, and more scored lower on the assertive communication measure than did bisexual or heterosexual youth. Moreover, there were gender differences within the GLB group; more males than females self-identified as homosexual and more females than males self-identified as bisexual.
Sexual health interventions for this population should be both gender- and sexual orientation-specific.

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    • "In order to appropriately address the target population's shifting attitudes and values toward the target behavior, new data are always needed. This study concerns homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, a population with even higher rates of HIV sexual risk behaviors than heterosexual homeless youth [3] [4] [5]. Shelters and other programs serving homeless LGBT youth [6] [7] provide condoms and HIV education tailored to their specific needs. "
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    ABSTRACT: Health behavior interventions based on Theory of Planned Behavior address participants' personally-held beliefs, perceived social norms, and control over the behavior. New data are always needed to "member check" participants' decision processes and inform interventions. This qualitative study investigates decision processes around condom use among 81 homeless LGBT youth ages 18-26. Findings indicated considerable endorsement of the conventional policy of always using condoms, promulgated in HIV prevention education targeting this population. Although some participants reported risk behavior in contexts of sex work, survival sex, casual encounters, open relationships, and substance use, most were aware of these risks and consistently safe in those situations. Condoms use boundaries became vulnerable in states of emotional need and negative mood. The only effect participants acknowledged of homelessness on condom use was indirect, through negative mood states. The most prevalent context of condom non-use was with long-term primary partners, a potential area of vulnerability because, of 13 participants for HIV or HCV, nine mentioned how they had been infected, and all nine believed they had acquired it from a primary partner. Findings imply programs should emphasize HIV risk potential within long-term romantic partnerships and mental health services to remediate negative mood states.
    AIDS research and treatment 05/2012; 2012:659853. DOI:10.1155/2012/659853
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    • "However, given disclosure occurred, on average, approximately a year and a half after the first homeless episode, disclosure itself could not account for homelessness. While this runs counter to the prevailing perspective that parental rejection of youths' developing sexuality is one of the major reasons for the prevalence of homelessness in LGB youths (Gattis, 2009; Walls et al., 2007; Whitbeck et al., 2004), it is consistent with an emerging research literature that finds that relatively small numbers of LGB youths leave home due to conflicts with family members (14% – 26%) about their sexual orientation (Cochran et al., 2002; Rew et al., 2005). Nevertheless, just because disclosure occurred subsequent to first homelessness does not necessarily mean that others (e.g., parents, friends, even strangers) might not have perceived the youth to be LGB, as a result of gender nonconforming behavior, and reacted negatively. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youths are over-represented in the homeless population. To examine why some LGB youths become homeless, this report compares homeless and non-homeless LGB youths. Of the 156 LGB youths, 48% reported ever being homeless (i.e., running away or being evicted from home). Results indicate that sexual orientation awareness and the initiation of sexual behavior occurred earlier in homeless than in non-homeless LGB youths and predated the first homeless episode. Substance use was more frequent and first occurred at an earlier age in homeless as compared to non-homeless LGB youths; however, substance use occurred subsequent to first homelessness. Childhood sexual abuse was associated with homelessness; and, early sexual orientation development was related to homelessness among youths without a history of sexual abuse. Findings suggest that interventions should help youths cope with their unfolding sexual orientation and work to prevent or address the consequences of sexual abuse.
    Children and Youth Services Review 01/2012; 34(1):186-193. DOI:10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.09.016 · 1.27 Impact Factor
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    • "LGB youth who run away from home or are evicted from their homes by parents are overrepresented in the homeless youth population (e.g., Corliss et al., in press; Freeman and Hamilton 2008; Gangamma et al. 2008; Rew et al. 2005; Whitbeck et al. 2004), and homeless LGB youth are at higher risk for psychological symptoms than are homeless heterosexual youth (e.g., Cochran et al. 2002; Van Leeuwen et al. 2006). However, past work comparing homeless LGB to homeless heterosexual youth cannot determine the extent to which psychological symptoms are due to homelessness. "
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    ABSTRACT: Although lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth with a history of homelessness (running away or being evicted from their homes by parents) report more psychological symptoms than homeless heterosexual peers, it is unclear whether symptoms are due to homelessness, given the absence of a non-homeless comparison group. This study longitudinally investigates whether LGB youth with a history of homelessness report more subsequent psychological symptoms than non-homeless LGB youth and examines potential mediators of any such relationships. Of the 156 LGB youth interviewed (49% female; 78% non-White), 48% reported past homeless experiences. Homelessness was associated with subsequent symptoms of anxiety, depression, conduct problems, and substance abuse and to changes in symptoms over time even after controlling for childhood sexual abuse and early development of sexual orientation. Stressful life events, negative social relationships, and social support from friends mediated the relationships between homelessness and symptomatology. These findings suggest the need for interventions to reduce stress and enhance social support among LGB youth with a history of homelessness in order to reduce psychological symptoms.
    Journal of Youth and Adolescence 06/2011; 41(5):544-60. DOI:10.1007/s10964-011-9681-3 · 2.72 Impact Factor
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