Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens and young adults have one of the highest rates of suicide attempts — and some other health and mental health problems, including substance abuse. A new study suggests that parental acceptance, and even neutrality, with regard to a child's sexual orientation could have a big impact in reducing this rate.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that the gay, lesbian and bisexual young adults and teens at the highest risk of attempting suicide and having some other health problems are ones who reported a high level of rejection by their families as a result of their sexual orientation.
"A little bit of change in rejecting behavior, being a little bit more accepting," says lead researcher Caitlin Ryan, "can make a significant difference in the child's health and mental health."
Ryan, director of Adolescent Health Initiatives at the Cesar Chavez Institute at San Francisco State University, and her researchers conducted lengthy interviews with more than 200 gay, lesbian and bisexual young adults. Ryan tried to judge whether, as adolescents, they had faced low, moderate or high levels of rejection from their families.Read/listen:
Family Acceptance Project - Caitlin Ryan, Ph.D.