Bullying eases for lesbian, gay teens as they age: study

Mon Feb 4, 2013 6:43pm EST
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(Reuters) - It does get better for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth, with bullying in their early teens fading away as they grow older, according to a study of the name calling, threats and violence faced by teens in England.

Researchers, whose results appeared in Pediatrics, found that while more than half of non-heterosexual teens reported getting bullied at ages 13 and 14, fewer than one in ten was still being victimized six years later.

"This study provides strong empirical support for the idea that it does get better," said lead researcher Joseph Robinson, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"Even though you're bullied in high school, chances are you won't be bullied in young adulthood."

But not all the news was good. Gay and bisexual men, in particular, reported that they were still bullied much more often than heterosexual men when surveyed at age 19 to 20. And bullied LGB youth said those experiences contributed to their feelings of depression and worthlessness years later as young adults

The new data are based on a study of 4,135 teens in England who were surveyed every year between 2004 and 2010. Of those, 187, or 4.5 percent, identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

At the start of the study period, when the youths were 13 and 14 years old, 52 percent of gay and bisexual boys and 57 percent of lesbian and bisexual girls said they were called names or experienced threats or violence.

Six years later, nine percent of non-heterosexual men and six percent of women were bullied.

By then, heterosexual and non-heterosexual women had a similar chance of being bullied, but gay and bisexual men were four times more likely to be victimized than their straight peers.   Continued...