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Still hard for teens to talk about sexuality

Mon 1 Dec 2014 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Newly-released results from the Youth ’12 report show that while four per cent of high school students report being gay or bisexual, very few feel comfortable talking to family members about it. The Youth’12 study was conducted by researchers from the Adolescent Health Research Group at the Auckland University, with 8,500 secondary school students talking part. This proportion who say they are attracted to same or both sexes is comparable to previous surveys conducted in 2001 and 2007. In 2012, 53.1 percent had ‘come out’, but only 14.4 percent of these young people said that they could easily talk to their family about their sexuality. “Most sexual minority students reported feeling positive towards school and described caring relationships with their parents and friends,” says lead author Dr Mathijs Lucassen. “Sexual minority students were also generous with their time in that they were more likely, than their opposite-sex attracted counterparts, to work as volunteers in their communities.” Dr Lucassen says although most sexual minority students are doing well, there are significant and harmful disparities. “For example, sexual minority youth are more likely to be bullied, be physically harmed, to be afraid that someone would hurt or bother them at school, and over forty percent had significant depressive symptoms.” Dr Lucassen says work to reduce the disparities “must focus on creating safe and nurturing environments which build upon the young person’s strengths and assets, and refrains from viewing the young person as having a problem because they are not heterosexual .” The full report will be launched on Wednesday evening.     

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 1st December 2014 - 7:47am

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