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US Study finds gay teens who come out have higher self esteem

Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 19/02/2015. US Study finds gay teens who come out have higher self esteemTags: Parenting Teachers

The results from a study done by the The University Of Arizona state that gay teens coming out in school emerge with higher self-esteem and lower levels of depression than if they had not and that coming out will not make them any more or less likely to be bullied.

Professor Stephen Russell, Director of the Institute for Children Youth and Families, and author of the paper, explains that LGBT students will have higher self-esteem and lower levels of depression if they come out in school compared to LGBT students who have not.

According to an American medical publication, Medical News Today, Mr. Russell, decided to conduct the study after he was asked to be an expert opinion on a legal case in the US.

According to the report:
“The contested issue in the suit was the high school's refusal to allow students to start a gay-straight alliance on campus, which officials claimed would be potentially harmful to students. ACLU attorneys asked Russell whether it could be said with "absolute certainty" that it is better for LGBT teens to come out at school than not, and he realized there was a worrying lack of research on the subject.

"Until now, a key question about balancing the need to protect LGBT youth from harm while promoting their well-being has not been addressed: do the benefits of coming out at school outweigh the increased risk of victimization? Our study points to the positive role of coming out for youth and young adults well-being," says Russell.”

Research showed respondents were bullied whether they had come out or not.

According to the survey of 245 LGBT students between 21 and 25 years, told researchers that they had been victims of bullying regardless of whether they had come out in school or not. However, the study found that participants who were open about their sexuality in school had higher self esteem as young adults than those young LGBT students who did not disclose their sexual orientation during school.

According to Professor Russell, who commented on the results,

“The results of the study will be important for educating parents and school officials on how to provide the best support for LGBT students. "The thing that's encouraging is that we've found being out is good for you," he says. "This is clearly aligned with everything we know about identity. Being able to be who we are is crucial to mental health."


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