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Effects of LGBTQ-inclusive sex education on mental health and experiences of bullying among U.S. high school students

Proulx, Chelsea (2017) Effects of LGBTQ-inclusive sex education on mental health and experiences of bullying among U.S. high school students. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Homophobic school climates are related to increased experiences of homophobic bullying and discrimination for sexual minority youth (SMY), ultimately leading to increased risk of adverse mental health outcomes, including depression and suicidality. The purpose of this project is to determine if LGBTQ-inclusive sex education has protective effects against adverse mental health outcomes and bullying experiences in youth, particularly SMY.
METHODS: This study involved secondary data analysis of representative data from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the 2014 School Health Profiles. Multilevel logistic models were constructed to determine if individuals in states with higher proportions of schools teaching LGBT-inclusive sex education have lower odds of reporting being bullied in school and experiencing adverse mental health outcomes, including depressive symptoms, seriously considering suicide, and making a suicide plan.
RESULTS: Initial analyses indicated that after controlling for demographics and state-level covariates (i.e. presence of LGBTQ anti-discrimination policies, median household income, and population density of same-sex couples), lesbian and gay youth in states with higher proportions of schools teaching LGBT-inclusive sex education had significantly lower odds of experiencing bullying in school (Odds Ratio: 0.83; 95% Confidence Interval: 0.71, 0.97). Bisexual youth had significantly lower odds of reporting depressive symptoms (OR: 0.92; 95% CI: 0.87, 0.98). While interactions were not significant, overall protective effects were significant for suicidal thoughts (OR: 0.91, 95% CI: 0.89, 0.93) and making a suicide plan (OR: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.77, 0.80).
PUBLIC HEALTH SIGNIFICANCE: This project provides the first quantitative evidence that LGBTQ-inclusive sex education can serve as a mechanism for promoting protective school climates and cultures SMY. It also points to larger socio-cultural influences on SMY mental health and victimization that can guide intervention development at the school-level and state-level.


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Details

Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Proulx, Chelseacnp10@pitt.educnp10
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMair, Christinacmair@pitt.educmair@pitt.edu
Committee MemberEgan, Jamesjee48@pitt.edujee48@pitt.edu
Committee MemberMatthews, Derrickderrick.matthews@pitt.eduddm17@pitt.edu
Date: 29 June 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 April 2017
Approval Date: 29 June 2017
Submission Date: 2 April 2017
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 65
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: lgbt health, mental health, bullying, sex education, adolescent health
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2017 22:36
Last Modified: 01 May 2019 05:15
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/31154

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