Objectives: We compared the likelihood of childhood sexual abuse (under age 18), parental physical abuse, and peer victimization based on sexual orientation.
Methods: We conducted a meta-analysis of adolescent school-based studies that compared the likelihood of childhood abuse among sexual minorities vs sexual nonminorities.
Results: Sexual minority individuals were on average 3.8, 1.2, 1.7, and 2.4 times more likely to experience sexual abuse, parental physical abuse, or assault at school or to miss school through fear, respectively. Moderation analysis showed that disparities between sexual minority and sexual nonminority individuals were larger for (1) males than females for sexual abuse, (2) females than males for assault at school, and (3) bisexual than gay and lesbian for both parental physical abuse and missing school through fear. Disparities did not change between the 1990s and the 2000s.
Conclusions: The higher rates of abuse experienced by sexual minority youths may be one of the driving mechanisms underlying higher rates of mental health problems, substance use, risky sexual behavior, and HIV reported by sexual minority adults.