Cyberbullying, unmet medical needs contribute to depressive symptoms among sexual minority youth

April 16, 2018, National Institutes of Health

Cyberbullying, dissatisfaction with family relationships, and unmet medical needs are major contributors to the high rates of depressive symptoms seen among adolescents who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or questioning their sexual orientation, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health. Their new study on sexual minority youth now appears in Pediatrics.

Researchers used data from the NEXT Generation Health Study, a study from 2009-2016 of 2,785 in 22 states, to assess teens' depressive symptoms beginning at age 17 and continuing for three years after they left high school. They found that almost 30 percent of teens thought they did not have adequate medical care for a 12-month period prior to the study, compared to 19 percent for heterosexual teens. Teens questioning their or attracted to the same sex or both sexes may fear that providers would disclose information to parents or may be embarrassed to seek mental health services, the authors wrote.

About 32 percent of the sexual minority youth surveyed reported being victims of cyberbullying—double the number of reported victims among . Nearly 40 percent of the sexual minority students surveyed reported "low satisfaction" with family relationships—again double the rate of their heterosexual peers.

"The study shows that adolescence is a critical window for interventions to address experienced by sexual minority youth," said Jeremy Luk, Ph.D., first author of the study and postdoctoral researcher at NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "Without appropriate screening and intervention, these disparities may likely persist into young adulthood."

Pediatricians and health care providers are well-positioned to address the psychosocial and medical needs of sexual minority adolescents, the authors wrote.

Explore further: Parents struggle to discuss sex with LGBTQ teens

Related Stories

Parents struggle to discuss sex with LGBTQ teens

April 5, 2018
It's hard enough for parents to have "the talk" about sexual health with their kids, but parents of LGBTQ children feel especially uncomfortable and unequipped when they try to educate them about sex and dating, reports a ...

Parental sexual orientation and children's psychological well-being

November 8, 2017
In a Child Development study of 21,103 children aged 4-17 years, those with lesbian and gay parents did not differ from children of heterosexual parents in terms of emotional and mental health difficulties, as assessed on ...

LGBQQ college students face barriers to campus mental health services, study finds

May 30, 2017
College students who belong to sexual minority groups are more likely to seek help for mental health problems than their straight peers, but they still face many barriers to using on-campus mental health services, according ...

Sexual minority youth have higher rates of disordered eating behaviors

July 21, 2016
Sexual minority boys and girls are more likely to purge or take laxatives, use diet pills, or fast to lose weight than their straight peers, and those disordered eating trends may not be improving, according to new research ...

Childhood maltreatment, bullying seem to up teen pregnancy risk

March 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Higher teen pregnancy among sexual minorities is partially explained by childhood maltreatment and bullying, according to a study published online March 12 in Pediatrics.

Sexual orientation discordance puts adolescents at greater risk for nonfatal suicidal behaviors

February 20, 2018
Suicide is a major national concern in the US. In 2016, it was the second leading cause of death in adolescents aged 12-18 years, with over 1,900 individuals in this age group dying by suicide. Researchers have now identified ...

Recommended for you

New research suggests possible link between sudden infant death syndrome and air pollution

April 20, 2018
A study led by the University of Birmingham suggests a possible association between exposure to certain pollutants and an increased risk of so-called 'cot death'.

Common antidepressants in pregnancy may alter fetal brain development

April 10, 2018
(HealthDay)—Pregnant women who take certain antidepressants may unknowingly compromise the brain development of their child, researchers suggest.

Kids in tough neighborhoods head to ER more often

April 6, 2018
(HealthDay)—Growing up in a disadvantaged neighborhood may mean more visits to the emergency room, a new study suggests.

Infant death study reveals dangerous sleep practices among babysitters, relatives, others

April 2, 2018
Babies who died during their sleep while being watched by someone other than parents often had been placed in unsafe sleep positions, such as on their stomachs, or in unsafe locations, such as a couch, a new study has found.

Reading with your toddler boosts more than just language skills

March 27, 2018
(HealthDay)—All those hours spent reading bedtime stories may pay off for you and your little ones beyond language and brain development: New research suggests it's also good for social and behavioral skills.

Children with autism and their younger siblings less likely to be fully vaccinated

March 26, 2018
Children with autism and their younger siblings are significantly less likely to be fully vaccinated than the general population, according to new Kaiser Permanente research published today in JAMA Pediatrics.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.