Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens who experience severe harassment can suffer from serious mental health problems, a new study suggests.
“With bullying, I think people often assume ‘That’s just kids teasing kids,’ and that’s not true,” said study author Brian Mustanski, director of Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing in Chicago
“If these incidents, which might include physical and sexual assaults, weren’t happening in schools, people would be calling the police,” he said in a university news release.
“You can’t equate someone giving you a dirty look with someone physically assaulting you. Victimizations that are more severe are going to have bigger effects. We scored them in a way that represented that, and we saw they had a profound effect on mental health rates over time,” Mustanski explained.
In the study, the researchers followed almost 250 LGBT youth in Chicago for four years. During that time, nearly 85 percent of the participants had decreasing levels of harassment, about 10 percent had significant increases in harassment, and about 5 percent had consistently high levels of harassment.
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