Sex Roles

, Volume 79, Issue 9–10, pp 594–608 | Cite as

LGBTQ Adolescents’ Positive and Negative Emotions and Experiences in U.S. High Schools

  • Arielle E. WhiteEmail author
  • Julia Moeller
  • Zorana Ivcevic
  • Marc A. Brackett
  • Robin Stern
Original Article


In a national survey of more than 19,000 U.S. high school students, we compared how LGBTQ youth and their non-LGBTQ peers felt at school and how they perceived social and academic experiences. We examined differences in emotions and school experiences across gender identities, sexual identities, and their intersections. LGBTQ adolescents reported significantly more frequent negative emotions and bullying, consistent with previous research. LGBTQ students also reported less frequent experiences of positive emotions at school and less frequent positive school experiences (i.e., positive peer and teacher relationships, subjective task value, and persistence support). Students who were both gender and sexual identity minority reported the most frequent negative and least frequent positive experiences at school, compared to students who were neither a gender or sexual identity minority. Analyses of the intersection of gender and sexual identity showed that heterosexual male students experienced more frequent positive emotions and school experiences, and fewer negative emotions and bullying, compared to all other groups. We discuss how these differences might be addressed through school interventions and future research.


LGBTQ youth Gender identity Sexual identity Adolescence Emotions School climate 



The present research was funded by a grant to the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (grant number 72691). The authors would like to acknowledge Born This Way Foundation for their support in the data collection for this research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained for all study participants and corresponding data included for analyses.

Supplementary material

11199_2017_885_MOESM1_ESM.docx (39 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 39 kb)
11199_2017_885_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (53 kb)
ESM 2 (XLSX 52 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale Center for Emotional IntelligenceYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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