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Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Youth and Adolescence 3/2013

01-03-2013 | Empirical Research

Family Relationships and Adolescent Well-Being: Are Families Equally Protective for Same-Sex Attracted Youth?

Auteurs: Jennifer Pearson, Lindsey Wilkinson

Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Youth and Adolescence | Uitgave 3/2013

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Abstract

Existing research suggests that sexual minority youth experience lower levels of well-being, in part because they perceive less social support than heterosexual youth. Sexual minority youth with strong family relationships may demonstrate resilience and increased well-being; however, it is also possible that the experience of sexual stigma may make these relationships less protective for sexual minority youth. Using two waves of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we explore the links between same-sex attraction, family relationships, and adolescent well-being in a sample of over 13,000 7th–12th grade adolescents (51 % female, 52 % non-Latino/a white, 17 % Latino, 21 % African American, and 7 % Asian). Specifically, we examine whether lower levels of parental closeness, parental involvement, and family support among same-sex attracted youth explain in part why these youth experience increased depressive symptoms and risk behaviors, including binge drinking, illegal drug use, and running away from home, relative to other-sex attracted youth. Second, we ask whether family relationships are equally protective against depressive symptoms and risk behaviors for same-sex attracted and other-sex attracted youth. We find that same-sex attracted youth, particularly girls, report higher levels of depressive symptoms, binge drinking, and drug use in part because they perceive less closeness with parents and less support from their families. Results also suggest that parental closeness and parental involvement may be less protective against risk behaviors for same-sex attracted boys than for their other-sex attracted peers. Findings thus suggest that interventions targeting the families of sexual minority youth should educate parents about the potentially negative effects of heteronormative assumptions and attitudes on positive adolescent development.
Voetnoten
1
We were concerned that our measure of depressive symptoms might be measured too far after same-sex attraction and family relationships, particularly since it captures depressive symptoms during the past week. However, results from models predicting depressive symptoms at Wave I were not substantively different from those presented here.
 
2
Percentage change in the size of the coefficient for same-sex attraction was calculated using the formula ((ΒModel1Model2)/ΒModel1)*100. For example, comparing Model 1 to Model 4 for Depressive Symptoms in Table 2: ((2.272-1.342)/2.272)*100 = 40.9%.
 
3
[(1 − exp(−.948)) * 100].
 
4
Sobel tests for mediation revealed only one instance of mediation for boys. Closeness with parents reduces the magnitude of the coefficient for same-sex attraction by 7 % (Sobel test: z = 1.984, p < .05) for depressive symptoms.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Family Relationships and Adolescent Well-Being: Are Families Equally Protective for Same-Sex Attracted Youth?
Auteurs
Jennifer Pearson
Lindsey Wilkinson
Publicatiedatum
01-03-2013
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Journal of Youth and Adolescence / Uitgave 3/2013
Print ISSN: 0047-2891
Elektronisch ISSN: 1573-6601
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-012-9865-5