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Family Rejection of Gay Teens Linked to later Suicide Attempts, Depression, Drug Use and Risky Sexual Behavior

12/29/2008

For the first time, a new study directly links family rejection with an increased risk of suicide, depression, drug use, and risky behavior in lesbian, gay and bisexual young adults.

In "Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth", researchers surveyed 224 white and Latino young adults, ages 21 to 25, on nine negative health indicators including mental health, substance abuse and sexual risk. The results showed that young adults who were rejected by their families as teens were 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse compared to their peers who had experienced little or no family rejection.

The study authors recommend counseling and early intervention to better educate families on the long-term impact of rejecting a child for sexual orientation or behavior.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.