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15 October 2011

Praise: Study on LGBTQ Youth from UIUC

Professors Joseph P. Robinson and Dorothy L. Espelage of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have published a new study, Inequities in Psychological Outcomes Between LGBTQ and Straight Students in Middle and High School.  The study was published in the October 2011 Educational Researcher, a journal of the American Educational Research Association.

Here is the abstract from the study:

This study finds that, compared with straight-identified youth, youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) are at greater risk of suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, victimization by peers, and elevated levels of unexcused absences from school. Results disaggregated by LGBTQ subgroups reveal heterogeneity within the broad LGBTQ group, with bisexual youth appearing to be particularly at risk. Also, although the risk gaps in school belongingness and unexcused absences are significant in high school, we find that these gaps are significantly greater in middle school, suggesting heightened early risk for LGBTQ-identified students. By raising awareness of educational inequities related to LGBTQ identification, this study lays the descriptive groundwork for interventions aimed at improving psychological and educational outcomes for these students.

It is incredibly important that this research is ongoing.  Only by understanding what is really happening with today's youth in the schools can we properly address their needs.  Both Dr. Espelage and Dr. Robinson discuss the risk factors and how to begin addressing those risk factors in an interview that is posted on YouTube.  We are fortunate to have such dedicated researchers doing this important work.  It gives one real hope for the future.

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