Advertisement

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 105–116 | Cite as

Emotional Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Questioning Bullies: Does It Differ from Straight Bullies?

  • Marla E. Eisenberg
  • Amy L. Gower
  • Barbara J. McMorris
Empirical Research

Abstract

Research demonstrates that young people involved in bullying are at greater risk for poor emotional health outcomes, but this association may not be consistent for youth of different sexual orientations. Understanding the unique needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and questioning (LGBQ) youth may suggest important opportunities for intervention and prevention. This study, therefore, examines whether involvement with bullying is differentially associated with emotional well-being across sexual orientation. Survey data were collected from a large statewide sample of 9th and 11th grade students in 2013 (N = 79,039, 49.8 % female, 74.6 % white). Logistic regression tested associations between sexual orientation, physical or relational bullying perpetration and five measures of emotional health. In the full sample, those reporting bullying perpetration had significantly elevated odds of emotional health problems. However, interaction terms and stratified models indicated that in nine out of ten physical bullying models and two out of ten relational bullying models, perpetration was not as strongly associated with poor emotional health among LGBQ adolescents as it was among heterosexual youth. Possible explanations for this finding include unhealthy coping strategies or masking one’s own vulnerable status as LGBQ. Continued efforts to prevent bullying are needed for all youth.

Keywords

Bullying Emotional health Suicide Sexual orientation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study is funded by Grant R40 MC 26815 (Marla Eisenberg, Principal Investigator) through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Research Program. Dr. Gower’s time was supported by Grant #T32HP22239 (Iris Borowsky, Principal Investigator) from a National Research Service Award (NRSA) in Primary Medical Care. Minnesota Student Survey data were provided by public school students in Minnesota via local public school districts and managed by the 2013 Minnesota Student Survey Interagency Team.

Authors contributions

M. E. conceptualized the study, conducted analysis and drafted the manuscript. B. M. and A. G. managed the data, created study variables, and conducted additional statistical analyses. All authors assisted with interpretation of findings and critical revision of the manuscript. All authors have reviewed and given approval of the submitted manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

References

  1. Almeida, J., Johnson, R. M., Corliss, H. L., Molnar, B. E., & Azrael, D. (2009). Emotional distress among LGBT youth: The influence of perceived discrimination based on sexual orientation. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(7), 1001–1014. doi: 10.1007/s10964-009-9397-9.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arseneault, L., Bowes, L., & Shakoor, S. (2010). Bullying victimization in youths and mental health problems: “Much ado about nothing”? Psychological Medicine, 40(5), 717–729. doi: 10.1017/S0033291709991383.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bender, D., & Lösel, F. (2011). Bullying at school as a predictor of delinquency, violence and other anti-social behaviour in adulthood. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 21, 99–106. doi: 10.1002/cbm.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berlan, E. D., Corliss, H. L., Field, A. E., Goodman, E., & Austin, S. B. (2010). Sexual orientation and bullying among adolescents in the growing up today study. The Journal of Adolescent Health : Official Publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 46(4), 366–371. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.10.015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Birkett, M., Espelage, D. L., & Koenig, B. (2009). LGB and questioning students in schools: The moderating effects of homophobic bullying and school climate on negative outcomes. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(7), 989–1000. doi: 10.1007/s10964-008-9389-1.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blosnich, J. R., & Horn, K. (2011). Associations of discrimination and violence with smoking among emerging adults: Differences by gender and sexual orientation. Nicotine & Tobacco Research: Official Journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 13(12), 1284–1295. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntr183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brooks, V. (1981). The theory of minority stress. In V. Brooks (Ed.), Minority stress and lesbian women (pp. 71–90). Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  8. Brunstein Klomek, A., Sourander, A., & Gould, M. (2010). The association of suicide and bullying in childhood longitudinal research findings. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 55(5), 282–288.Google Scholar
  9. California Department of Education (Safe and Healthy Kids Program Office) and WestEd (Health and Human Development Department). (2015). California Healthy Kids Survey. Retrieved from http://chks.wested.org
  10. California Safe Schools Coalition and 4-H Center for Youth Development. (2004). Consequences of harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender non-conformity and steps for making schools safer. CA: Davis.Google Scholar
  11. Card, N. A., Stucky, B. D., & Little, T. D. (2008). Direct and indirect aggression during childhood and adolescence: A meta-analytic review of gender differences, intercorrelations, and relations to maladjustment. Child Development, 79(5), 1185–1229.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cochran, S. D., & Mays, V. M. (2007). Physical health complaints among lesbians, gay men, and bisexual and homosexually experienced heterosexual individuals: Results from the California Quality of Life Survey. American Journal of Public Health, 97(11), 2048–2055. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.087254.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cochran, S. D., & Mays, V. M. (2009). Burden of psychiatric morbidity among lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals in the California Quality of Life Survey. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118(3), 647–658. doi: 10.1037/a0016501.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Copeland, W. E., Wolke, D., Angold, A., & Costello, E. J. (2013). Adult psychiatric outcomes of bullying and being bullied by peers in childhood and adolescence. JAMA Psychiatry (Chicago, IL), 70(4), 419–426. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Corliss, H. L., Goodenow, C. S., Nichols, L., & Austin, S. B. (2011). High burden of homelessness among sexual-minority adolescents: Findings from a representative Massachusetts high school sample. American Journal of Public Health, 101(9), 1683–1689. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300155.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. D’Augelli, A. R., Pilkington, N. W., & Hershberger, S. L. (2002). Incidence and mental health impact of sexual orientation victimization of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths in high school. School Psychology Quarterly, 17(2), 148–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dennis, M. L., Chan, Y.-F., & Funk, R. R. (2006). Development and validation of the GAIN Short Screener (GSS) for internalizing, externalizing and substance use disorders and crime/violence problems among adolescents and adults. The American Journal on Addictions, 15(Suppl 1), 80–91. doi: 10.1080/10550490601006055.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dennis, M., Titus, J., White, M., Unsicker, J., & Hodgkins, D. (2002). Global appraisal of individual needs (GAIN): Administration guide for the GAIN and related measures. Bloomington, IL. http://www.chestnut.org/li/gain
  19. Eisenberg, M. E., Gower, A. L., McMorris, B. J., & Bucchianeri, M. M. (2015). Vulnerable bullies: Perpetration of peer harassment in youth across sexual orientation, weight and disability status. American Journal of Public Health. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302704.Google Scholar
  20. Fedewa, A. L., & Ahn, S. (2011). The effects of bullying and peer victimization on sexual-minority and heterosexual youths: A quantitative meta-analysis of the literature. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 7(4), 398–418. doi: 10.1080/1550428X.2011.592968.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gini, G., & Pozzoli, T. (2009). Association between bullying and psychosomatic problems: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 123(3), 1059–1065. doi: 10.1542/peds.2008-1215.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Glover, J. A., Lamere, R. V., & Lamere, T. G. (2009). Identity development and exploration among sexual minority adolescents: Examination of a multidimensional model. Journal of Homosexuality, 56(1), 77–101. doi: 10.1080/00918360802551555.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gower, A. L., & Borowsky, I. W. (2013). Associations between frequency of bullying involvement and adjustment in adolescence. Academic Pediatrics, 13(3), 214–221. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2013.02.004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Haas, A. P., Eliason, M., Mays, V. M., Mathy, R. M., Cochran, S. D., D’Augelli, A. R., et al. (2011). Suicide and suicide risk in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations: Review and recommendations. Journal of Homosexuality, 58(1), 10–51. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2011.534038.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Corbin, W. R., & Fromme, K. (2011). Discrimination and alcohol-related problems among college students: A prospective examination of mediating effects. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 115(3), 213–220. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.11.002.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hensley, V. (2013). Childhood bullying: A review and implications for health care professionals. The Nursing Clinics of North America, 48(2), 203–213. doi: 10.1016/j.cnur.2013.01.014.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Holt, M. K., Vivolo-Kantor, A. M., Polanin, J. R., Holland, K. M., DeGue, S., Matjasko, J. L., et al. (2015). Bullying and suicidal ideation and behaviors: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 135(2), e496–e509. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-1864.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Igartua, K., Gill, K., & Montoro, R. (2003). Internalized homophobia: A factor in depression, anxiety, and suicide in the gay and lesbian population. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 22(2), 15–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Institute of Medicine. (2011). The health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people: Building a foundation for better understanding. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  30. Jackson, D., & Sullivan, R. (1994). Developmental implication of homophobia for lesbian and gay youth: Issues in policy and practice. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services: Practice and Research, 1(3, 4), 111–130.Google Scholar
  31. Juvonen, J., Graham, S., & Schuster, M. A. (2003). Bullying among young adolescents: The strong, the weak and the troubled. Pediatrics, 112(6), 1231–1237.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S. L., Flint, K. H., Kawkins, J., Harris, W. A. et al. (2014). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance Summaries (Washington, D.C.: 2002), 63(Suppl 4), 1–168. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24918634
  33. Kosciw, J., Greytak, E., Bartkiewicz, M., Boesen, M., & Palmer, N. (2012). The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York, NY: Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network. Google Scholar
  34. Laska, M. N., VanKim, N. A., Lust, K. D., Erickson, D. J., Eisenberg, M. E., & Rosser, B. (2015). Disparities in weight and weight behaviors by sexual orientation in college students. American Journal of Public Health, 105, 111–121.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Leff, S. S., & Waasdorp, T. E. (2013). Effect of aggression and bullying on children and adolescents: Implications for prevention and intervention. Current Psychiatry Reports, 15(3), 343. doi: 10.1007/s11920-012-0343-2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lesbian Gay and Bisexual (LGB) Youth Sexual Orientation Measurement Work Group. (2003). Measuring sexual orientation of young people in health research. San Francisco, CA: Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. Google Scholar
  37. Marshal, M. P., Friedman, M. S., Stall, R., King, K. M., Miles, J., Gold, M. A., et al. (2008). Sexual orientation and adolescent substance use: A meta-analysis and methodological review. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 103(4), 546–556. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02149.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Meyer, I. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129(5), 674–697.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nakamoto, J., & Schwartz, D. (2010). Is peer victimization associated with academic achievement? A meta-analytic review. Social Development, 19(2), 221–242. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9507.2009.00539.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Newcomb, M. E., & Mustanski, B. (2010). Internalized homophobia and internalizing mental health problems: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(8), 1019–1029. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2010.07.003.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ott, M. Q., Corliss, H. L., Wypij, D., Rosario, M., & Austin, S. B. (2011). Stability and change in self-reported sexual orientation identity in young people: Application of mobility metrics. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(3), 519–532. doi: 10.1007/s10508-010-9691-3.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ragatz, L. L., Anderson, R. J., Fremouw, W., & Schwartz, R. (2011). Criminal thinking patterns, aggression styles, and the psychopathic traits of late high school bullies and bully-victims. Aggressive Behavior, 37(2), 145–160. doi: 10.1002/ab.20377.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Reijntjes, A., Kamphuis, J. H., Prinzie, P., & Telch, M. J. (2010). Peer victimization and internalizing problems in children: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Child Abuse and Neglect, 34(4), 244–252. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.07.009.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rivers, I., Poteat, V. P., Noret, N., & Ashurst, N. (2009). Observing bullying at school: The mental health implications of witness status. School Psychology Quarterly, 24(4), 211–223. doi: 10.1037/a0018164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rosser, B. R. S., Bockting, W. O., Ross, M. W., Miner, M. H., & Coleman, E. (2008). The relationship between homosexuality, internalized homo-negativity, and mental health in men who have sex with men. Journal of Homosexuality, 55(2), 185–203. doi: 10.1080/00918360802129394.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Saewyc, E. M., Bauer, G. R., Skay, C. L., Bearinger, L. H., Resnick, M. D., Reis, E., & Murphy, A. (2004). Measuring sexual orientation in adolescent health surveys: Evaluation of eight school-based surveys. Journal of Adolescent Health, 35(4), 345.e1–345.e15. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2004.06.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Saewyc, E. M., Skay, C. L., Bearinger, L. H., Resnick, M. D., & Reis, E. (2007). Suicidal ideation and attempts in North American school-based surveys: Are bisexual youth at increasing risk? Journal of LGBT Health Research, 3(2), 25–37. doi: 10.1300/J463.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. SAS. (2010). Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.Google Scholar
  49. Srabstein, J. C., & Merrick, J. (2013). Bullying: A public health concern. New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  50. Ttofi, M. M., Farrington, D. P., & Lösel, F. (2011a). The predictive efficiency of school bullying versus later offending: A systematic/meta-analytic review of longitudinal studies. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 21, 80–89. doi: 10.1002/cbm.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ttofi, M. M., Farrington, D. P., Losel, F., & Loeber, R. (2011b). Do the victims of school bullies tend to become depressed later in life? A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 3(2), 63–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Vessey, J. A., DiFazio, R. L., & Strout, T. D. (2013). Youth bullying: A review of the science and call to action. Nursing Outlook, 61(5), 337–345. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2013.04.011.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marla E. Eisenberg
    • 1
  • Amy L. Gower
    • 1
  • Barbara J. McMorris
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health, Department of PediatricsUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.School of Nursing, University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations