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Adolescent same-sex attraction and mental health: the role of stress and support.

Authors
  • Teasdale, Brent
  • Bradley-Engen, Mindy S
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of homosexuality
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2010
Volume
57
Issue
2
Pages
287–309
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/00918360903489127
PMID: 20390994
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study draws on the social stress model from the sociology of mental health to examine the impact of same-sex attraction on depressed mood and suicidal tendencies. Specifically, we hypothesize that across multiple contexts, adolescents with same-sex attractions are likely to experience more social stress and less social support than heterosexual adolescents. In turn, these experiences increase the likelihood of negative mental health outcomes. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n = 11,911), we find that adolescents with same-sex attraction are more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to report depressed mood and suicidal tendencies. Moreover, stress and social support were found to mediate a substantial part of the relationship between same-sex attraction and depressed mood. In addition, stress and social support mediated about one third of the relationship between same-sex attraction and suicidal tendencies. These findings give strong support for the social stress model. We conclude with a discussion of the role that alienation plays in same-sex-attracted adolescent mental health.

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