The effects of general and homophobic victimization on adolescents' psychosocial and educational concerns: The importance of intersecting identities and parent support.

Published: August 22, 2011

Abstract

Many adolescents experience peer victimization, which often can be homophobic. Applying the minority stress model with attention to intersecting social identities, this study tested the effects of general and homophobic victimization on several educational outcomes through suicidality and school belonging among 15,923 adolescents in Grades 7 through 12 on account of their sexual orientation and race/ethnicity. Parent support also was tested as a moderator of these effects. Homophobic victimization had different effects on suicidality across groups, indicating the importance of considering individuals’ multiple social identities. However, homophobic victimization had universal negative effects on school belonging for all groups. Nearly all indirect effects of general and homophobic victimization on reported grades, truancy, and importance of graduating were significant through suicidality and school belonging across groups. Parent support was most consistent in moderating the effects of general and homophobic victimization on suicidality for heterosexual White and racial/ethnic minority youth. In nearly all cases, it did not moderate the effects of general or homophobic victimization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Furthermore, in most cases, parent support did not moderate the effects of general or homophobic victimization on school belonging. Findings underscore the need for counseling psychologists to work with parents of all youth on ways to provide support to those who experience homophobic victimization. Furthermore, they highlight the need for counseling psychologists to be involved as social justice advocates in the passage and implementation of school policies that address homophobic bullying and other forms of bias-based bullying and harassment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved).

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