Same-Sex Attraction, Social Relationships, Psychosocial Functioning, and School Performance in Early Adolescence

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


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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Available from: Eddy H. de Bruyn
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    • "Existing studies that focus on adult LGB populations demonstrate a positive association between perceived support and indicators of well-being (Domingues-Fuentes et al., 2012; Kurdek, 1988) and sexual health (Lauby et al., 2012). LGB adolescents report lower quality social relationships than their heterosexual peers (Bos, Sandfort, de Bruyn, & Hakvoort, 2008; Corliss, Austin, Roberts, & Molnar, 2009), and that this difference accounts for mental health disparities observed between the two groups (Bos et al., 2008; Ueno, 2005). Furthermore, for sexual minority youth, social support from peers (in the form of Gay-Straight Alliances), parents, and other adults is essential for enhancing health, well-being, and educational outcomes— outcomes that are negatively impacted by minority stress experienced by sexual minority youth (Detrie & Lease, 2007; Hatzenbuehler, Birkett, Van Wagenen, & Meyer, 2014; Ryan et al., 2009; Toomy, Ryan, Diaz, & Russell, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: This article reports a study of the function and composition of social support networks among diverse lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) men and women (n = 396) in comparison to their heterosexual peers (n = 128). Data were collected using a structured social support network matrix in a community sample recruited in New York City. Our findings show that gay and bisexual men may rely on "chosen families" more than lesbian and bisexual women. Both heterosexuals and LGBs relied less on family and more on other people (e.g., friends, coworkers) for everyday social support (e.g., recreational and social activities, talking about problems). Providers of everyday social support were most often of the same sexual orientation and race/ethnicity as participants. In seeking major support (e.g., borrowing large sums of money), heterosexual men and women along with lesbian and bisexual women relied primarily on their families, but gay and bisexual men relied primarily on other LGB individuals. Racial/ethnic minority LGBs relied on LGB similar others at the same rate as did White LGBs but, notably, racial/ethnic minority LGBs reported receiving fewer dimensions of support. (PsycINFO Database Record
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    • "Most studies reported larger effects among men than women (Cochran & Mays, 2000b; Cochran, et al., 2007; Frisell, et al., 2010; Sandfort, et al., 2001), but this was only for homosexual and not bisexual men in one study (Bolton & Sareen, 2011). One study had comparable effects for men and women (Strutz, et al., 2015) and some reported mixed findings, depending on SO subgroup (Bostwick, et al., 2010; Tjepkema, 2008) or type of anxiety disorder (Cochran, et al., 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Many studies, reviews, and meta-analyses have reported elevated mental health problems for sexual minority (SM) individuals. This systematic review provides an update by including numerous recent studies, and explores whether SM individuals are at increased risk across selected mental health problems as per dimensions of sexual orientation (SO), genders, life-stages, geographic regions, and in higher quality studies. A systematic search in PubMed produced 199 studies appropriate for review. A clear majority of studies reported elevated risks for depression, anxiety, suicide attempts or suicides, and substance-related problems for SM men and women, as adolescents or adults from many geographic regions, and with varied SO dimensions (behaviour, attraction, identity), especially in more recent and higher quality studies. One notable exception is alcohol-related problems, where many studies reported zero or reversed effects, especially for SM men. All SM subgroups were at increased risk, but bisexual individuals were at highest risk in the majority of studies. Other subgroup and gender differences are more complex and are discussed. The review supports the long-standing mental health risk proposition for SM individuals, overall and as subgroups.
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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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