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School Culture and the Well-Being of Same-Sex-Attracted Youth
Gender & Society (2009)
  • Lindsey Wilkinson, Portland State University
  • Jennifer Pearson, Wichita State University
This study assesses how variations in heteronormative culture in high schools affect the well-being of same-sex-attracted youth. The authors focus on the stigmatization of same-sex attraction (rather than identity or behavior) to better understand how heteronormativity may marginalize a wide range of youth. Specifically, the authors use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine how variation across schools in football participation, religious attendance, and urban locale affects same-sex-attracted adolescents’ depressive symptoms, self-esteem, fighting, and academic failure. The results suggest that though same-sex-attracted youth are at greater risk for decreased well-being, these youth are at higher risk in nonurban schools and in schools where football and religion have a larger presence. Results vary for boys and girls: The urban locale of a school has a larger impact for boys, while school religiosity has a greater impact for girls.
  • Adolescent sexuality,
  • Children -- Sexuality,
  • Education,
  • Well-being
Publication Date
August, 2009
Publisher Statement
© 2009 Sociologists for Women in Society by SAGE Publications
Citation Information
Wilkinson, Lindsey and Jennifer Pearson. 2009. “School Culture and the Well Being of Sexual Minority Youth.” Gender & Society 23(4): 542-568.