Study Sees Relationships Reduce Emotional Distress in Gay and Lesbian Youth

New study sees that gay and lesbian teens are less emotionally distressed when in a relationship.

A recent study has found that lesbian and gay youth show significantly less psychological distress when in a relationship as opposed to when they aren’t. The research also found that the negative effects of bullying and victimisation were also reduced.

Originally published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, the Northwestern Medicine ‘Romantic Involvement: A Protective Factor for Psychological Health in Racially-Diverse Young Sexual Minorities’ study was in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati.

Brian Mustanski, the director of the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said:

Romantic relationships add lust to life. Your romantic partner can be the first person you reach out to when you have good news to celebrate or for a shoulder to cry on when you have bad news. Having a partner then can amplify the good things in life and provide critical support during tough times.

The study found that when lesbian and gay individuals were in a relationship, they were 17 percent less distressed than when they were single. However, the study surprisingly found that bisexual individuals in relationships were 19 per cent MORE distressed than when single. Mustanski suggested that “bisexuals may face unique stressors in relationships,” that can’t compare to those of gay or lesbian partnerships.

Sarah Whitton, first author and associate professor of psychology at the University of Cincinnati, added that:

There are lot of questions about if and how we should help LGBT teens form romantic relationships, so that they can have the same experiences of dating and learning about relationships as their heterosexual peers.

The findings suggest there might be great value in initiatives that could help LGBT youth meet other youth such as citywide ‘queer proms,’ and engage in healthy learning about dating and romance.

The study is important as there is limited research on how romantic involvement can affect sexual minority groups, making it a welcome insight into how relationships can affect the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Study participants came from Project Q2 — the longest running longitudinal study of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) youth ever conducted. Project Q2 is a racially diverse community sample of 248 sexual minority youth from the Chicago area between the ages of 16-20, who provided eight waves of data over a five-year period beginning in 2007. Most participants identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender.

More information the study can be found on ScienceDaily.

Written by QWEERIST editor

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