Suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual and questioning (LGBQ) adolescents is a public health concern (Haas, et al., 2010). Recent research demonstrates that anti-LGB prejudice at school and among peers contributes to health risks for LGBQ teens (Russell, Kosciw, Horn, Saewyc, 2010).This project focuses on the experiences of urban, ethnically diverse LGBQ middle school adolescents - a vulnerable yet understudied population - and seeks to identify factors that contribute to risk and resilience for well-being an academic achievement in this group. The first study uses the BIAS MAP (Cuddy, Fiske &Glick, 2007) and draws on the developmental friendship literature (Hallinan &Williams, 1989) to systematically assess intergroup attitudes, peer relations, and school climate and test their impact on psychological and academic outcomes for both LGBQ and heterosexual students. Survey data will be collected from 800 Asian, Black, Latino and White boys and girls enrolled in 7th and 8th grades at several large urban schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Participants will complete measures assessing their stereotypes, prejudices and behavioral tendencies toward various ethnic LGBQ individuals, their same - and cross-ethnic and cross-sexual orientation friendships, perceived vulnerability at school, and school ethnic diversity as well as students'psychosocial well-being and academic achievement. It is expected that positive intergroup attitudes and school climate, better cross ethnic/sexual orientation friendships and greater ethnic diversity will contribute to enhanced well- being and academic achievement of both LGBQ and heterosexual adolescents of various ethnic groups. The second study employs a well-established experimental paradigm to test whether observing LGB-based victimization impacts the well-being of heterosexual adolescents. Heterosexual Latino boys (n= 120) and Latina girls (n = 120) enrolled in 7th and 8th grades will take part in a virtual ball-tossing computer game called Cyberball (Williams, Cheung, &Choi, 2000) during which they witness a Latino/a lesbian, gay or bisexual student excluded or included in the game. Each participant will complete measures of psychological well-being (i.e., state self-esteem), stereotypes, prejudices and behavioral tendencies toward Latino lesbian, gay and bisexual students;friendships (e.g., number of LGB friends), and the degree to which the participant perceives sexual minority Latinos as in-group. It is expected that witnessing the exclusion of LGB youth perceived to be an in-group member will negatively affect the well-being of the heterosexual observer. A combination of cluster analysis, hierarchical linear modeling and SEM multiple group analysis will be used to test the hypotheses in both studies. Knowledge gained from this program of research can inform prevention and intervention programs suited for implementation in our nation's urban schools.
Suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual and questioning (LGBQ) adolescents is a public health concern and research traces the health risks for LGBQ teens to hostile environments. This project focuses on the experiences of urban, ethnically diverse LGBQ middle school adolescents and identifies factors that contribute to risk and resilience for their well-being and academic achievement. This project will also examines the consequences of witnessing anti-LGB victimization for heterosexual students and provide important empirical evidence to inform educational and social policy designed to ensure that all adolescents regardless of sexual orientation and ethnicity reach their full potential.