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Adolescent Sexual Orientation and Suicide Risk: Evidence from a National Study
For a long time, sexual orientation has remained a much-debated topic for young adults. The subject has frequently been stated as a risk factor for suicide among the adolescents. The authors report that over 20 studies have been conducted about homosexuality in adolescents. As a background to its theme, the article reports a previous research that showed the risk of suicide among adolescent gays and lesbians to be 48% and 76% respectively. The same report further demonstrated that young gays in fewer occasions than their lesbian counterparts thought about suicide. In the study, Russel and Joyner (2001) evaluated data obtained from the NLSAH (National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health). They used logistic regression to control for their sample and found a strong correlation between adolescent sexual orientation and worrying patterns of suicidal thoughts.
Ordinarily, in this research was that the authors were able to point out that researchers have paid too much attention to the psychopathologic impacts of homosexuality among adolescents. Therefore, they urged other researchers to focus on unique strengths of these young sexual minorities in the future because they believe there is much to learn from the adolescent homosexuals than just the risk of suicide. This study by Russel and Joyner (2001) is also an eye-opener because we understand why we need to prevent psychopathologic effects by rechanneling efforts to the most affected lesbian adolescents because these young people deserve intervention and suicide prevention which they rarely receive.
Family Acceptance in Adolescence and the Health of LGBT Young Adults
This study by Ryan et al. (2010) focused on the roles families play in ensuring the protection of adolescent gays and lesbians are accepted. Just like their peers, gays, and lesbians who have reached puberty show normal developmental behaviors. They participate in family activities and other general social events. They do not portray unlawful behaviors such as crime. Because of the indifference, gay and lesbian adolescents, according to Ryan et al. (2010), require family acceptance. This study indicated that through this family acceptance, the adolescents would, apart from better social and overall health status, show greater self-esteem needed for them to achieve much in life just like their peers. The family acceptance also prevents these young adults from falling into depression and substance abuse.
The authors associate family acceptance of gay and lesbian adolescents with positive mental and physical health. The outcome of such acceptance reduces the national burden of taking care of these young adults under otherwise conditions. These reduced health disparities will enable adolescents to achieve their life goals. Therefore, one of the aims of the research was to promote parental caregiver acceptance as an apt intervention that minimizes victimization of adolescent gays and lesbians.
The study involved 249 white young adults of Latino and non-Latino descent. Most people, until today, focus on the negative relationship between parents and their adolescent homosexuals. Instead of concentrating on family rejection, the researchers pointed out the dramatic protective impacts of a highly accepting family on the life of gay and lesbian adolescents. The authors assert that their study will have an implication on the nursing practice by influencing the lives and well-being of these young people. Through the study, nurses will be able to identify and offer appropriate assessment and care for the adolescents based on an understanding of their clients’ sexual orientation.
Disclosure of sexual orientation and subsequent substance use and abuse among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths: Critical role of disclosure reactions
When young gays and lesbians disclose their sexual orientation, they are either met by rejecting or accepting reactions. In this study designed by Rosario, Schrimshaw, and Hunter (2009), 164 homosexual youths aged between 14 and 21 years in an urban center were examined for potential drug abuse based on the disclosure of their sexual orientation.
They claim that disclosure is an act of self-acceptance that reduces stress associated with concealing sexual orientation. This, according to the study, is necessary for the young people to obtain support from family, friends and other important individuals. The results obtained from the structured interview showed that many of these young people taking part in the research (79%) had disclosed their sexual status to at least a parent or a close relative. Most of these youths said they received positive reaction upon disclosing their sexual orientation. This is a motivation for adolescents struggling with their identities to come out and proudly disclose their status.
This is a great research indicating the strength of disclosing relationship status. This study contributes to the well-being of adolescents because young people can learn how to deal with realities of being gay or lesbian. The implication – an ability to accept reactions, is a buffer for these young adults. Communities can learn detrimental effects of rejecting gay and lesbian adolescents. Such programs could help gay and lesbian youths find therapeutic interventions that may help them deal with the consequences of rejection reaction. Rejection prevention measures contribute to healthy and substance-free adults. Therefore, this study is important for theoretical, preventive and intervention efforts.
Inclusive Anti-bullying Policies and Reduced Risk of Suicide Attempts in Lesbian and Gay Youth
The purpose of this study was to investigate the contributions of anti-bullying policies to the reduction of suicide risk among gay and lesbian youths. 31,852 11th grade learners from Oregon were surveyed and the results stratified by sexual orientation. In schools without anti-bullying policies, adolescent gays and lesbians were 2.25 times likely to attempt suicide than schools enforcing anti-bullying rules. In overall, inclusive anti-bullying laws correlated with low risk of attempting suicide irrespective of other sociodemographic characteristics such as ethnicity and race. The study concluded that anti-bullying policies exerted protective impacts for the mental salience among lesbian and gay adolescents.
This study has a potential to direct schools and other public institutions to provide policies that protect the rights of each individual within the organizations. Through the anti-bullying laws, lots of meaningful adolescent lives with potentially bright futures will be protected. These anti-bullying laws are important, particularly for learning institutions. When the gay and lesbian adolescents are bullied in schools, they are likely to underperform. Anti-bullying laws can, therefore, be seen as a potential strategy for reducing any possible educational disparity between the young adults due to sexual orientation.
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Research on Adolescent Sexual Orientation: Development, Health Disparities, Stigma, and Resilience
This research is of particular importance for the healthcare industry. The authors observed that the initial step towards a focussed attention on a particular group of interest is through documentation of inequalities which will then favor a shift of priorities in organizations’ practice and policy. Saewyc (2011) explored the health disparities among gay and lesbian young adults including suicidal ideation, rural and urban differences in teenage gay and lesbian health. The report showed high rates of mental health problems among gay and lesbian adolescents from rural areas. Thus, more support is needed in these locations to help refocus intervention to most needy zones. Rural compared to homosexual adolescents are more likely to experience these disparities. This brings in the aspect of gender-based interventions.
Most importantly, the authors made an observation that body image, weight and eating disorder behavior among the gay and lesbian adolescents are seriously understudied. Almost no studies have been conducted to test whether the interventions being placed actually reduce these health disparities. This is quite an informative perspective that would help compel action to change the behavioral impact of such research bias. The study demonstrates a critical research gap thereby calling for the need for far more intervention studies to reduce health disparities and promote a healthy development of gay and lesbian adolescents. Such interventions should be adapted for various ethnic groups and specific orientation. And see greater ability to support gay and lesbian teens and ensure growth into healthy adults.
- Hatzenbuehler, M. L., & Keyes, K. M. (2013). Inclusive Anti-bullying Policies and Reduced Risk of Suicide Attempts in Lesbian and Gay Youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(1), S21-S26. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.08.010
- Rosario, M., Schrimshaw, E. W., & Hunter, J. (2009). Disclosure of sexual orientation and subsequent substance use and abuse among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths: Critical role of disclosure reactions. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 23(1), 175-184. doi:10.1037/a0014284
- Russell, S. T., & Joyner, K. (2001). Adolescent Sexual Orientation and Suicide Risk: Evidence From a National Study. American Journal of Public Health, 91(8), 1276-1281. doi:10.2105/ajph.91.8.1276
- Ryan, C., Russell, S. T., Huebner, D., Diaz, R., & Sanchez, J. (2010). Family Acceptance in Adolescence and the Health of LGBT Young Adults. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 23(4), 205-213. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6171.2010.00246.x
- Saewyc, E. M. (2011). Research on Adolescent Sexual Orientation: Development, Health Disparities, Stigma, and Resilience. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21(1), 256-272. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00727.x