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Education research shows LGBTQ-identified students at higher risk than straight-identified students
Date:10/12/2011

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 12, 2011New research findings reported in the October 2011 issue of Educational Researcher highlight differences between LGBTQ- and straight-identified youth in health outcomes and educational equity. The peer-reviewed scholarly journal is one of six published by the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

University of Illinois scholars Joseph P. Robinson and Dorothy L Espelage, who conducted the research, found that "youths who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) are at a greater risk of suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, victimization by peers, and elevated levels of unexcused absences from school."

Their rigorous analysis of LGBTQ subgroups showed that bisexual youths appear "to be particularly at risk." They also found that gaps in school belongingness and unexcused absences "are significantly greater in middle school, which suggests heightened early risk for LGBTQ-identified students."

From a policy perspective, Robinson and Espelage believe that their study lays the groundwork "for new research in the development, implementation, and effectiveness of programs and policies, aimed at improving the educational experiences of LGBTQ youth."

For their research, Robinson and Espelage surveyed a large, population-based anonymous sample of more than 13,000 students spanning middle to high school in 30 schools in Dane County, Wisconsin. This sample was unique and more likely reflects "the full spectrum of LQBTQ students," they said, because it included middle school students, not just high school students, and students who identified themselves as transgender. "The sample recruitment methods did not specifically target sexual minority students," they added.

Schools have opportunities from an equity and opportunity-to-learn perspective to help LGBTQ students who have lower levels of belongingness and higher levels of truancy, particularly in midd
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Contact: Helaine Patterson
hpatterson@aera.net
American Educational Research Association
Source:Eurekalert

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