ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Involvement in a same-sex relationship boosted self-esteem in teen males and lowered internalized homophobia in teen females who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, a new University of Michigan study shows.
Surprisingly for the same teens, having an opposite-sex relationship had no affect on self-esteem, depression or anxiety.
Dating in adolescence is critical to developing sexual and social identities, says Jose Bauermeister, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. It's even more salient for gay, lesbian and bisexual youth because there is such a stigma attached to their sexual orientation.
Studies have shown that these teens may suffer more psychological distress, victimization, physical threats and violence than heterosexual youth. Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens who conceal their sexuality, often have a lower self-image or internalized sense of homophobia—which can lead to depression and anxiety.Read more: