As rates of youth mental health issues soar in the United States, new research offers surprising insights into how social factors affect trends for LGBTQ+ youth, who are especially at risk due to the harmful effects of discrimination.
Psychology Professor Phil Hammack, director of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz, led a study that combined survey data, interviews, and ethnographic field notes to compare mental health outcomes for LGBTQ+ youth across some of California’s most and least supportive communities for sexual and gender diversity.
The results showed remarkably little difference in outcomes between communities during the 2015 to 2017 study period. Overall, 41% of LGBTQ+ teens surveyed reported clinically-concerning levels of depressive symptoms, compared to a rate of 10% for those same symptoms among all California adolescents, as estimated by prior epidemiological studies.
“It was really surpring that the level of community support for sexual and gender diversity did not seem to make much of a difference for the mental health of these youth, because the communities we studied had such strikingly different levels of LGBTQ resources and visibility,” Hammack said. “When we first looked at our survey results, we were so shocked that we re-ran the analysis several times, just to be sure.”
Read more at News.UCSC.edu.