February 5, 2013
Bullying Of Homosexual Teens Really Does Get Better
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
A wildly popular campaign aiming to let homosexual teenagers know life "gets better" with age now has a seven-year study to back up its claim.
During the study, the authors found absolute rates of victimization among the LGB youth decreased from late childhood, and early teenage, to young adulthood. Also, they found the rates of bullying toward LGB youth became non-significantly different from rates of bullying toward heterosexual youth.
Researchers followed 4,135 Caucasian 13- and 14-year-olds in England for a seven-year period recording data on bullying, emotional distress, and sexual orientation.
Of all the participants, 4.5 percent were identified as part of the LGB group, and 57 percent of the girls in that group were bullied at baseline, compared to 6 percent who had been bullied at the final follow-up.
Fifty-two percent of the boys who took part in the study and were identified as gay were bullied at baseline, compared to nine-percent later on at the conclusion of the study.
The researchers said gay and bisexual youths had a 78 percent increase in odds of being bullied, compared to heterosexual boys at baseline. However, that number dwindled to a four-fold decrease during the final follow-up.
Authors suggest gay and bisexual boys were bullied more after secondary and high school when compared to heterosexual boys who reported nearly identical bullying during those school years.
"The real take-home message here is that it does definitely get better, it's not necessarily getting better than best. We need to keep working to make sure how to make it better or better than best," Vincent Silenzio, MD, of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, told MedPage Today.
The data in the study was collected from young people around England, but Joseph Robinson, assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois, told USA Today the results could transfer to U.S. populations.
The "It Gets Better" project aims to help get the word out to the LGB youth, who may be having struggles in school dealing with their lifestyle. This project is known by its video messages to encourage those youth who struggle with bullying. RedOrbit has reached out to It Gets Better for comment on the study but has yet to receive a reply.