PITTSBURGH, June 22 Young people who identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, experience same-sex attractions or engage in same-sex sexual behaviors are more likely to experience sexual abuse, parental physical abuse and bullying from peers than other youth, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health study.
In addition, these adolescents identified as "sexual minority youth" in the study are more likely to miss school due to fear. The American Public Health Association recently published the findings online; the study will appear in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
"The higher rates of abuse experienced by sexual minority youths are clearly one of the driving mechanisms underlying higher rates of mental health problems, substance use, risky sexual behavior and HIV by sexual minority adolescents and adults," said Mark S. Friedman, Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral and community health sciences. "However, I cannot stress enough that these youth experience sexual and physical abuse and bullying because they identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual or experience same-sex attraction; abuse does not 'cause' sexual orientation or identification."
Friedman and his co-authors conducted a meta-analysis of 37 studies in 18 geographic areas that compared the likelihood of self-reported childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse perpetrated by a parent or guardian or peer victimization between high-school aged sexual minority and non-minority youth. The meta-analysis only included school-based studies conducted in North America of randomly sampled youth.
Many studies have suggested that young people who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, experience same-sex attractions or engage in same-sex sexual activity are more likely to experience sexual or physical abuse or bullying from peers than other youth. However, these studies vary in effect sizes, sampling a
|Contact: Allison Schlesinger|
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences