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Family acceptance is a protective factor for LGBT youth (USA)

January 27, 2011

Family acceptance can be a protective factor for youth mental health, according to an American study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing. The study contributes to research about parent and child relationships in the context of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) youth, who have been previously identified as having a higher risk for poor mental health.

The study’s importance is highlighted by its attention to potentially positive outcomes of the parenting relationship. Previous research in this area has tended to focus on negativity within lesbian, gay and bisexual youth and parent relationships, including family rejection, and little attention has been paid to the potential benefits of the parenting relationship on LGBT youth. This recent study used a participatory research approach, which incorporated the advice of stakeholder groups, such as LGBT adolescents, young adults and families, at all stages of research. The research sample included 245 LGBT Latino and non-racialized young adults.

The study found that family acceptance was associated with greater self-esteem, social support, and general health status, and protected against depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation and behaviours. In general, the authors conclude that family acceptance contributes to positive mental health for LGBT youth.

See “Family Acceptance in Adolescence and the Health of LGBT Young Adults,” Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing (November 2010; 23[4]: 205-213), available at www.wiley.com.

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