Education research shows LGBTQ-identified students at higher risk than straight-identified students

Oct 12, 2011

New research findings reported in the October 2011 issue of Educational Researcher highlight differences between LGBTQ- and straight-identified youth in health outcomes and educational equity. The peer-reviewed scholarly journal is one of six published by the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

University of Illinois scholars Joseph P. Robinson and Dorothy L Espelage, who conducted the research, found that "youths who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) are at a greater risk of suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, victimization by peers, and elevated levels of unexcused absences from school."

Their rigorous analysis of LGBTQ subgroups showed that bisexual youths appear "to be particularly at risk." They also found that gaps in school and unexcused absences "are significantly greater in middle school, which suggests heightened early risk for LGBTQ-identified ."

From a policy perspective, Robinson and Espelage believe that their study lays the groundwork "for new research in the development, implementation, and effectiveness of programs and policies, aimed at improving the educational experiences of LGBTQ youth."

For their research, Robinson and Espelage surveyed a large, population-based anonymous sample of more than 13,000 students spanning middle to high school in 30 schools in Dane County, Wisconsin. This sample was unique and more likely reflects "the full spectrum of LQBTQ students," they said, because it included , not just , and students who identified themselves as transgender. "The sample recruitment methods did not specifically target students," they added.

Schools have opportunities from an equity and opportunity-to-learn perspective to help LGBTQ students who have lower levels of belongingness and higher levels of truancy, particularly in , the researchers suggested. Early intervention may be crucial. In addition, they wrote that "incorporating discussions about sexual orientation and sexual identity in bullying prevention programs may contribute to safer environments and more positive outcomes for LGBTQ youth."

In the journal article, Robinson and Espelage cited other pertinent research findings about bullying that have been reported within the past five years. For instance, they wrote "that a large percentage of bullying among students involves the use of homophobic teasing and slurs" and that "the pervasiveness of antigay language in schools suggests that most school environments are hostile of LGBT students." Despite increasing interest, they noted that "very little is known about the rates of cyber-bullying among LGBT."

At the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Robinson, Assistant Professor of quantitative and evaluative research methodologies, focuses his research on causal inference and quasi-experimental designs, policy analysis and program evaluation, and issues related to educational equity and access. Espelage, Professor of Educational Psychology, concentrates her research on bullying and peer victimization, homophobic teasing, and sexual harassment among adolescents.

Through this study, which "goes beyond prior studies in identifying heterogeneity and differential developmental trends," the University of Illinois researchers hope to raise awareness of educational inequities related to LGBTQ and to pave the way "for interventions aimed at improving psychological and educational outcomes for these students."

Explore further: Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Provided by American Educational Research Association

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Safe schools policy for LGBTQ students

Nov 04, 2010

Youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning (LGBTQ) are vulnerable to bullying, harassment, compromised achievement, and emotional and behavioral health problems. A national survey ...

Out with LGBTQ bullying

Dec 10, 2010

Imagine, for a moment, how it feels to be verbally or physically assaulted on a regular basis. In families, it's considered domestic abuse. In workplaces, it's labeled harassment. Both are punishable by law.

Study links bullying to depression, other adult ailments

Oct 05, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- University of Arizona family studies researchers report in the journal Developmental Psychology that high school students whose sexual orientation is at odds with social gender norms often find themselves victim ...

Can the kids be all right if they are gay too?

Sep 13, 2010

New research on the children of LGBTQ people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) has unequivocally revealed that they are not only psychologically healthy, but often appear to exhibit better social and academic ...

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.