Objectives: We examined the association between perceived sexual orientation (PSO), bullying, and quality of life (QOL) among US adolescents.
Methods: We analyzed data from the 2010 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey collected in public school grades 8, 10, and 12 (n = 27,752). Bullying status was characterized as never bullied, bullied because of PSO, or bullied for other reasons. Survey-weighted regression examined differences in QOL, depressed mood, and consideration of suicide by bullying status.
Results: Among male students, 14%, 11%, and 9% reported being bullied because of PSO in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades, respectively; and among female students, 11%, 10%, and 6%. In all gender and grade strata, being bullied because of PSO was associated with lower QOL scores and increased the odds of depressed mood or consideration of suicide. Moreover, the magnitudes of these associations were greater than for being bullied for other reasons.
Conclusions: Bullying because of PSO is widely prevalent and significantly affects several facets of youth QOL. Bully-prevention or harm-reduction programs must address bullying because of PSO.