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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Resiliency and risk behaviors in Massachusetts sexual minority high school students

Amanda K. Matthews, MPH1, Shawna Pochan, MPH1, Sophie Godley, MPH2, and Nancy Wilber, EdD3. (1) Boston University School of Public Health, 32 Harvard Ave. #1, Brookline, MA 02446, 617-734-1815, amandakarynmatthews@hotmail.com, (2) Office of Youth and Adolescent Development, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 250 Washington St, Boston, MA 02108, (3) Bureau of Family and Community Health, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 250 Washington St, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02108

Objectives: We sought to determine rates of resiliency and risk behaviors in sexual minority students and assess whether sexual minority high school students differ in these rates compared with their heterosexual peers. Methods: Using results from the 2002 Massachusetts Youth Health Survey, we examined resiliency behaviors among sexual minority high school students including: academic motivation and civic engagement. Risk behaviors analyzed included smoking and suicide ideation. Data from the MYHS are representative of Massachusetts high school students (school response rate: 88%, student participation rate: 85%). Analysis was performed using SAS and data were weighted using SUDAAN. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05. Results: Sexual minority students were significantly more likely to talk to a professional about problems (OR: 2.04, CI: 1.24, 3.37) and significantly less likely to experience parental disapproval of risk-taking behaviors (OR: 0.26, CI: 0.11, 0.64) compared to their heterosexual peers. They were equally likely to be civically engaged, to talk to their parents about sexual issues, to have an adult role model, to like school, and to receive high grades. Sexual minority students were significantly more likely to experience depression (OR: 2.71 CI: 1.54, 4.78), suicide ideation (OR: 2.05, CI: 1.21, 3.47) and engage in risk-taking behaviors (early initiation of smoking and alcohol use; current drug use, smoking and binge drinking). Conclusions: With certain exceptions, sexual minority students are generally comparable to their heterosexual peers with regard to resiliency behaviors, however, sexual minority students are more likely to report engaging in risk behaviors compared to their peers.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learning Objectives

    Keywords: Gay, Adolescents

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    [ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

    LGBT Youth Research

    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA