Being out at school: the implications for school victimization and young adult adjustment

Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2014 Nov;84(6):635-43. doi: 10.1037/ort0000037.

Abstract

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adolescents disclose their sexual and/or gender identities to peers at school. Disclosure of LGBT status is linked with positive psychosocial adjustment for adults; however, for adolescents, "coming out" has been linked to school victimization, which in turn is associated with negative adjustment. This study investigates the associations among adolescent disclosure of LGBT status to others at school, school victimization, and young adult psychosocial adjustment using a sample of 245 LGBT young adults (aged 21-25 years, living in California). After accounting for the association between school victimization and later adjustment, being out at high school was associated with positive psychosocial adjustment in young adulthood. Results have significant implications for training of school-based health and mental health providers, education and guidance for parents and caregivers, fostering positive development of LGBT youth, and developing informed school policies and educational practices.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Bullying / psychology*
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Female
  • Homosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Schools
  • Self Concept
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Transsexualism / psychology*
  • Young Adult