Groundbreaking Research on
Family Rejection of
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Adolescents
Establishes Predictive Link to
Negative Health Outcomes
Paper Authored by Dr. Caitlin Ryan of
San Francisco, CA - For the first time, researchers have established a clear link between rejecting behaviors of families towards lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adolescents and negative health outcomes in early adulthood. The findings will be published in the January issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in a peer-reviewed article titled "Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young Adults." The paper, authored by Dr. Caitlin Ryan and her team at the César E. Chávez Institute at San Francisco State University, which shows that parents' rejecting behaviors towards their LGB children dramatically compromises their health, has far reaching implications for changing how families relate to their LGB children and how LGB youth are served by a wide range of providers across systems of care. The study and development of resource materials was funded by The California Endowment, a health foundation dedicated to expanding access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities.
"For the first time, research has established a predictive link between specific, negative family reactions to their child's sexual orientation and serious health problems for these adolescents in young adulthood--such as depression, illegal drug use, risk for HIV infection, and suicide attempts," said Caitlin Ryan, PhD, Director of the Family Acceptance Project at the César E. Chávez Institute at SF State and lead author of the paper. "The new body of research we are generating will help develop resources, tools and interventions to strengthen families, prevent homelessness, reduce the proportion of youth in foster care and significantly improve the lives of LGBT young people and their families."Read more Accept your LGBTQ kids - could it be more simple?Filed by: Cathy Renna, The BilericoProject
is a community research, intervention and education initiative to study the impact of family acceptance and rejection on the health, mental health and well-being of lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. Results will be used to help families provide support for LGBT youth, to develop appropriate interventions, programs and policies, and to train providers to improve the quality of services and care they receive. The project is funded by The California Endowment, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and individual donors.
Although there is an increasing amount of information about the risks and challenges facing LGB youth (with very little information about transgender youth), we know little about their strengths and resiliency, including the strengths of families in supporting their children's health and well-being. Even though the family is the primary support for children and youth, and family involvement helps reduce adolescent risk, there have been no previous studies of how families affect their LGBT children’s risk and resiliency. Prior to this study, little information was available to show how families respond to an adolescent's coming out and how family and caregiver reactions affect adolescent health, mental health and development for LGBT young people.
Attention to family reactions is critical since increasingly, youth are coming out at younger ages which significantly increases risk for victimization and abuse in family, school and community settings, and provides opportunities for helping to support and strengthen families. Victimization has long-term consequences for health and development, and impacts families as well as the targeted individuals. Early intervention can help families and caregivers build on strengths and use evidence-based materials to understand the impact of acceptance and rejection on their child’s well-being.
The Family Acceptance Project™ is coordinated by Caitlin Ryan at the César E. Chávez Institute at San Francisco State University, and was developed by Caitlin Ryan and Rafael Dìaz in 2002. It includes the first major study of the families of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
The project is designed to: 1) study parents’, families' and caregivers’ reactions and adjustment to an adolescent's coming out and LGBT identity; 2) develop training and assessment materials for health, mental health, and school-based providers, child welfare, juvenile justice, family service workers and community service providers on working with LGBT youth and families; 3) develop resources to strengthen families to support LGBT children and adolescents; and 4) develop a new model of family-related care to improve health and mental health outcomes for LGBT adolescents. Findings will be used to inform policy and practice and to change the way that systems of care address the needs of LGBT adolescents.
Read more Family Acceptance Project™
Editor's Note: Early intervention and acceptance makes a critical difference in helping to maintain many LGBT adolescents in their homes and reduce their risk for mental and health problems. Viji Sundaram is health editor at New America Media.SAN FRANCISCO--Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth whose families have rejected them because of their sexual orientation are at far greater risk for mental and physical health problems than those who come from families who have accepted them, according to a recent study. Read more
By Tony Grew
Source: Dana Rudolph