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Focused resources may help LGB teens cope up with stress

Washington: To deal with the stress of gay, lesbian and bisexual community during adolescence, researchers have suggested that by getting them involved in LGB-focused organisations may help them promote health and reduce likelihood of dropping out of high school.

Researchers from the University of Arizona in Tucson found that those indivisuals, who engaged in LGB-specific strategies reported better psychosocial adjustment and more likelihood of graduating high school, than those who relied more heavily on the other two strategies.

The team examined 245 LGB young adults’ retrospective reports of how they coped with sexual minority stress during adolescence.

They analysed three common types of strategies emerge: cognitive strategies, such as imagining a better future; alternative-seeking strategies, such as changing schools or seeking new friend groups in response to stress; and LGB-specific strategies, such as getting involved in LGB-focused organisations or seeking out resources and activities specific to that community.

Cognitive and alternative-seeking strategies were associated with poorer adjustment, more depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem and alternative-seeking strategies were even linked to lower likelihood of finishing high school.

“In our study, we demonstrate for one of the first times that if youth cope with LGB-related stress by seeking out LGB spaces or information it promotes health and reduced likelihood of dropping out of high school,” said lead author Russell Toomey.

The study is published in the journal of Homosexuality.

The findings challenge the idea that imagining a better future is an effective way for LGB teens to deal with stress.

The study also warns of the harm that can come from alternative-seeking, or more escape-based, coping strategies, which continue to be promoted in some schools, Toomey noted.

“When a young person experiences harassment or bullying related to their sexual orientation or gender at school, principals and administrators might counsel them to transfer to a different school to deal with the problem,” Toomey said.

“The child who has a different sexuality or gender identity expression is then labeled as the problem instead of really addressing the issue and our results find that that’s associated with more depressive symptoms, less self-esteem and less satisfaction in life,” he said.

The researchers hope that the research will encourage educators and families to help connect their teens to LGB-specific resources. (ANI)