Stress Decreases For Gay Youth As Bullying Fades

By Jordan Mammo email: j.mammo@itechpost.com , Feb 04, 2013 03:58 PM EST

A new study finds that bullying against lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth lowers significantly after high school, lessening stress on the affected teenagers.

Researchers in England reported their results in the online journal Pediatrics, and were quick to note that they think similar results would be reported in the United States.

It's probably no surprise that teenagers who publically identify themselves as gay, lesbian, and bisexual face a significantly higher degree of bullying than their straight schoolmates, but any suggestion that life gets better after high school can be welcomed, even if there's much more work to be done.

The news was better for LGB girls than boys, however. Although both genders experienced a drop in bullying (physical violence, threats of violence, insults, etc.) as they got older, the rate for boys was relative to their heterosexual counterparts.

"It gets better for lesbian and bisexual females, relatively, but for gay and bisexual males, relative to their straight male peers, it gets worse after high school," said study author Joseph Robinson, assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, to USA Today. "Their rates of being bullied are not dropping as quickly."

"This finding suggests that gay and bisexual boys were bullied more after secondary/high school even when compared with heterosexual boys who reported nearly identical victimization and emotional distress," read the study, according to MedPage Today.

At the start of the study, 57 percent of girls were bullied, while the number dropped to 6 percent after high school. For boys, the numbers went down from 52 percent to 9 percent. Relative to heterosexual boys, though, gay/bisexual boys were 78 percent more likely to be bullied at the start of the study compared to straight boys, while the number only went down to below 36 percent by the end.

"It calls to action school professionals and our culture to really think about the effects that negative messages about LGB-identified folks have on young people and the course of their lives," said Robinson.

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