Title

A Comparison of Sexual Minority Youth Who Attend Religiously Affiliated Schools and Their Nonreligious School-Attending Counterparts

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Adolescents who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) evidence a heightened risk for experiencing negative mental health outcomes, diminished psychosocial well-being, and more alcohol use than their heterosexual peers (Toomey et al., 2011; Heck et al., 2011). Due to the health disparities between sexual minority youth and heterosexual youth, investigations into protective factors, such as religiosity, are necessary. Studies conclude that individual religiosity is not a protective factor against alcohol use for LGB individuals who attend high school (Rostosky et al., 2007). However, investigations of sexual minority youth who attend schools with religious affiliation, and how attending a religiously affiliated school may relate to alcohol use and school belonging in this at risk population, are lacking in the literature base. It is hypothesized that attending religiously affiliated schools will have an effect on alcohol use and school belonging scores among sexual minorities who attend.

To test this hypothesis, data from a previous study investigating the effects of gay-straight alliances on sexual minority mental health and substance use will be analyzed. Data from 25 sexual minorities from religiously affiliated schools and a matched sample (on the basis of age and gender) of 25 youth from nonreligious schools compiled from an online survey will be used to compare alcohol use and school belonging scores. Additionally, descriptive characteristics, such as demographics, will be compared between 475 LGB youth within the two groups to identify if there are differences in these characteristics. It is expected that comparing alcohol use and school belonging scores will demonstrate that attending a school with religious affiliation has an effect on these factors, though a specific direction of this effect is not predicted, based on the exploratory nature of this study.

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Apr 12th, 11:00 AM Apr 12th, 12:00 PM

A Comparison of Sexual Minority Youth Who Attend Religiously Affiliated Schools and Their Nonreligious School-Attending Counterparts

UC Ballroom

Adolescents who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) evidence a heightened risk for experiencing negative mental health outcomes, diminished psychosocial well-being, and more alcohol use than their heterosexual peers (Toomey et al., 2011; Heck et al., 2011). Due to the health disparities between sexual minority youth and heterosexual youth, investigations into protective factors, such as religiosity, are necessary. Studies conclude that individual religiosity is not a protective factor against alcohol use for LGB individuals who attend high school (Rostosky et al., 2007). However, investigations of sexual minority youth who attend schools with religious affiliation, and how attending a religiously affiliated school may relate to alcohol use and school belonging in this at risk population, are lacking in the literature base. It is hypothesized that attending religiously affiliated schools will have an effect on alcohol use and school belonging scores among sexual minorities who attend.

To test this hypothesis, data from a previous study investigating the effects of gay-straight alliances on sexual minority mental health and substance use will be analyzed. Data from 25 sexual minorities from religiously affiliated schools and a matched sample (on the basis of age and gender) of 25 youth from nonreligious schools compiled from an online survey will be used to compare alcohol use and school belonging scores. Additionally, descriptive characteristics, such as demographics, will be compared between 475 LGB youth within the two groups to identify if there are differences in these characteristics. It is expected that comparing alcohol use and school belonging scores will demonstrate that attending a school with religious affiliation has an effect on these factors, though a specific direction of this effect is not predicted, based on the exploratory nature of this study.