A new study has concluded that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth who are rejected by their family have a higher risk of having health problems as young adults.
The study – titled Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young Adults – was authored by Dr Caitlin Ryan, the director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University.
The study surveyed 224 white and Latino “self-identified” lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults, aged 21 to 25, recruited through diverse venues and organisations.
It found that higher rates of family rejection were significantly associated with poorer health outcomes.
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression and 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs.
They were also 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
Latino men reported the highest number of negative family reactions to their sexual orientation in adolescence.
“This study establishes a clear link between specific parental and caregiver rejecting behaviours and negative health problems in young lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults,” said Dr Ryan.
The author suggested that, “counselling families, providing anticipatory guidance, and referring families for counselling and support can help make a critical difference in helping decrease risk and increasing well-being for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth.”
The study will be published in the January edition of the journal Pediatrics.