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01-08-2015 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 8/2015

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 8/2015

Individual Psychological Factors and Complex Interpersonal Conditions that Predict LGBT-Affirming Behavior

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 8/2015
Auteur:
V. Paul Poteat

Abstract

To counter homophobic behavior in schools, research is needed on heterosexual youth who act as allies to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth by engaging in LGBT-affirming behavior (e.g., voicing support, engaging in advocacy, countering homophobia). Among 624 heterosexual high school students (M age = 16.11; 53 % female; 88 % white), this study found that critical thinking, self-reflection, lower sexual prejudice, having more LGBT friends, and having sexual orientation-based discussions with peers were associated with engaging in more LGBT-affirming behavior. Several factors moderated the association between having sexual orientation-based discussions and LGBT-affirming behavior: the association was stronger among youth who described the tone of these discussions as more positive, who more often used positive problem-solving strategies, and who reported low sexual prejudice. The degree to which conversations were challenging did not moderate this association. Finally, having LGBT friends was more strongly associated with affirming behavior for youth who felt more connected and had more sexual orientation-based discussions with these friends. The findings underscore the need for research to identify other factors that prompt heterosexual youth to act as allies to LGBT youth.

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