Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study finds family acceptance of LGBT youth protects against depression, substance abuse, suicide

06.12.2010
For the first time, researchers have established a clear link between accepting family attitudes and behaviors towards their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) children and significantly decreased risk and better overall health in adulthood.

The study shows that specific parental and caregiver behaviors -- such as advocating for their children when they are mistreated because of their LGBT identity or supporting their gender expression -- protect against depression, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts in early adulthood.

In addition, LGBT youth with highly accepting families have significantly higher levels of self-esteem and social support in young adulthood. The study is published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, a journal of the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses, in a peer-reviewed article titled "Family Acceptance in Adolescence and the Health of LGBT Young Adults."

Despite all the recent attention to health risks and disparities for lesbian, gay and bisexual youth, prior to this study, little was known about how families express acceptance and support for their LGBT children. Moreover, no prior research had examined the relationship between family acceptance of LGBT adolescents and health and mental health concerns in emerging adulthood.

"At a time when the media and families are becoming acutely aware of the risk that many LGBT youth experience, our findings that family acceptance protects against suicidal thoughts and behaviors, depression and substance abuse offer a gateway to hope for LGBT youth and families that struggle with how to balance deeply held religious and personal values with love for their LGBT children," said Dr. Caitlin Ryan, PhD, Director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University. "I have worked on LGBT health and mental health for 35 years and putting our research into practice by developing a new model to help diverse families support their LGBT children is the most hopeful work I've ever done."

Ann P. Haas, Ph.D., Director of Prevention Projects for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, noted, "With this new groundbreaking study, Ryan and her colleagues have provided the strongest evidence to date that acceptance and support from parents and caregivers promote well-being among LGBT youth and help protect them from depression and suicidal behavior. These findings open the door to a whole new focus on how families can be helped to more fully engage in the kind of behaviors that reduce suicide risk in LGBT adolescents and young adults."

"Times have changed," said Stephen Russell, PhD, President Elect of the Society for Research on Adolescence and a consultant to the Family Acceptance Project. "More and more families want to be accepting of their children. Yet, many families still struggle when a child comes out as LGBT. It's essential to have research like this to deeply understand the ways that families show their acceptance, so that we can identify how to support families."

The study, authored by Dr. Caitlin Ryan and her team from the Family Acceptance Project, which shows that accepting behaviors of parents and caregivers towards their LGBT children are protective against mental health risks – including suicidal behaviors -- has critical implications for changing how families relate to their LGBT children and how LGBT youth are served by a wide range of providers across disciplines and systems of care, including custodial care systems such as foster care. The study was funded by The California Endowment, a health foundation dedicated to expanding access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities.

Major Research Findings:

Family accepting behaviors towards LGBT youth during adolescence protect against suicide, depression and substance abuse.
LGBT young adults who reported high levels of family acceptance during adolescence had significantly higher levels of self-esteem, social support and general health, compared to peers with low levels of family acceptance.

LGBT young adults who reported low levels of family rejection during adolescence were over three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and to report suicide attempts, compared to those with high levels of family acceptance.

High religious involvement in families was strongly associated with low acceptance of LGBT children.

Dr. Ryan and her team at the Family Acceptance Project are currently developing a new evidence-based family model of wellness, prevention and care for LGBT adolescents, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This model uses a behavioral approach to help ethnically and religiously diverse families decrease rejection and increase support for their LGBT children to reduce risk for suicide, depression, substance abuse, and HIV, to promote well-being and to prevent homelessness and placement in custodial care. This systems-level approach helps communities and providers to engage diverse families as allies in decreasing their LGBT children's risk and increasing their well-being while respecting the family's deeply held values. This work is being conducted in English, Spanish and Chinese with families from all ethnic backgrounds, including immigrant and very low income families, and those whose children are out-of-home in foster care and juvenile justice facilities.

The existing approach to serving LGBT adolescents by pediatricians, nurses, social workers, school counselors and others has focused almost exclusively on serving LGBT youth alone and through peer support, rather than in the context of their families, and does not consider the impact of family reactions on the adolescent's health and well-being.

In addition to providing direct services for families with LGBT children and working with communities in the U.S., the Family Acceptance Project is collaborating with organizations, providers, advocates and families to develop an international movement of family acceptance to promote wellness and healthy futures for LGBT children, youth and young adults.

"Family Acceptance in Adolescence and the Health of LGBT Young Adults" is the third in a series of research papers on outcomes related to family acceptance and rejection of LGBT adolescents, supporting positive LGBT youth development, school experiences and providing family-related care to be released by the Family Acceptance Project.

These studies will be published in peer-reviewed journals designed for providers, caregivers and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines and practice settings.

Methodology

This survey is part of a larger, multi-method, participatory program of research and community engagement initiated as part of the Family Acceptance Project. The research sample included 245 non-Latino white and Latino LGBT young adults, ages 21-25, who were open about their sexual orientation to at least one parent or primary caregiver during adolescence. These youth were recruited within California from 249 LGBT-related venues. Family acceptance measures in the survey that included positive family comments, behaviors and interactions related to their children's LGBT identity were developed based on a prior in-depth qualitative study of LGBT adolescents and families throughout California from 2002-2004.

About the Family Acceptance Project

The Family Acceptance Project is a community research, intervention, education and policy initiative that is designed to: 1)improve the health, mental health, and well-being of LGBT children and adolescents; 2) strengthen and help ethnically and religiously diverse families support their LGBT children; 3) help LGBT youth stay in their homes to prevent homelessness and the need for custodial care in the foster care and juvenile justice systems; 4) inform public policy and family policy; and 5) develop a new evidence-based, family model of wellness, prevention, and care to promote well-being and decrease risk for LGBT youth. For more information, please visit http://familyproject.sfsu.edu

Media contact: Cathy Renna, Renna Communications, 917-757-6123, cathy@rennacommunications.com

Elaine Bible | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sfsu.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Why might reading make myopic?
18.07.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Tübingen

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>