The Role of School and Community Involvement in the Psychosocial Health Outcomes of Black and Latinx LGBTQ Youth

Ryan D. Heath, Lance Keene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identified (LGBTQ) youth of color face poorer psychosocial health outcomes than their non-LGBTQ peers. Research suggests school-based and community activities promote psychosocial health for LGBTQ youth, but study samples are predominantly White. This study tested whether school enrollment and seven community activities were associated with LGBTQ community connectedness, happiness, and health among Black and Latinx LGBTQ youth. Methods: This study used a subsample of Black and Latinx LGBTQ adolescents and young adults (N = 472) from the Social Justice Sexuality project. Mean differences in study variables were examined across intersectional racial/gender identity categories. Multiple regression analyses assessed the association of school enrollment and community activities with psychosocial health outcomes, accounting for covariates. Results: Social activities for LGBTQ people (ß = 0.19) and LGBTQ people of color (POC; ß = 0.15) were associated with greater LGBTQ connectedness. While moderate religious services attendance (ß = −0.13) was associated with lower LGBTQ connectedness, high attendance was associated with greater happiness (ß = 0.13) and health (ß = 0.12). Social activities for LGBTQ-POC (ß = 0.13) were also associated with better health. School enrollment was not significantly associated with any outcomes and Latinx transgender and diverse youth had the lowest happiness and health. Discussion: Social activities for LGBTQ people and LGBTQ-POC may play a role in the social connectedness and health of Black and Latinx LGBTQ youth, while frequent religious service attendance may support health and happiness. Schools and faith institutions should ensure their institutions are welcoming to LGBTQ youth. Public health workers might facilitate the involvement and inclusion of LGBTQ youth, while policy should support funding for community activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-657
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume72
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2023

Keywords

  • Community involvement
  • LGBTQ youth
  • Mental health
  • Minoritized sexual and gender identities
  • Organized activities
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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