Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

School of Public Health

First Advisor

Mayur Desai

Second Advisor

Megan Smith

Abstract

Objectives: Our first objective was to determine whether lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents were as likely as straight adolescents to report having connections with school adults. Our second objective was to find whether LGB adolescents benefited more from these connections in regards to a variety of risk behaviors and mental health indicators.

Methods: Utilizing the NYC 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), we analyzed whether adolescents differed in their connections to school adults based on self-reported sexual orientation. We created a 4-category variable combining both sexual orientation and presence of a school adult connection and then examined differences in prevalence and odds of the following outcomes: alcohol use, marijuana use, illicit drug use, depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempt.

Results: Straight and LGB adolescents were equally likely to report having a connection with an adult at school. LGB adolescents benefited more from such connections, as evidenced by the presence of additive interaction.

Conclusions: School adult connections are beneficial for all adolescents, but especially LGB adolescents. Interventions should focus on boosting social support for this high-risk group.

Comments

This is an Open Access Thesis.

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