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Robinson lead author of study that examines whether it really does 'get better' for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth

by The College of Education and USA Today / Feb 5, 2013

A study about gay teen victimization by Joseph P. Robinson, assistant professor of Educational Psychology, will be featured in the March 2013 issue of Pediatrics, the premier journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The study, "Developmental Trends in Peer Victimization and Emotional Distress in LGB and Heterosexual Youth," was co-authored by Dorothy L. Espelage, professor of Educational Psychology, and Ian Rivers, a professor in the department of Sport and Education at Brunel University in the United Kingdom.

Young people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual tend to experience higher rates of bullying. The study collected data from adolescents and young people in England over a seven-year period to examine how rates of bullying change as adolescents grow older, and what effect bullying has on their emotional distress.

The study findings were highlighted nationally by many media outlets, including the Associated Press, USA Today, and the Chicago Tribune. The study had two significant objectives, to provide "the first evidence of developmental trends in victimization rates for lesbian, gay, and bisexual- and heterosexual-identified youth, both in absolute and relative terms, and to examine differences by gender." The second was to "examine links between victimization, sexual identity, and later emotional distress."

FEBRUARY 4, 2013, USA TODAY — High school students who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual tend to face higher rates of bullying in school than their heterosexual peers. But a new study suggests that things get better for these young people, with harassment declining as they get older and leave school.

The improvements, however, are relative for gay and bisexual boys, who face a greater likelihood of being victimized than heterosexual peers.

Overall, the amount of bullying (name calling, threats of physical violence and actual acts of violence) experienced in adolescence declines for all students as they get older, regardless of gender or sexual identity, finds the study in today's Pediatrics.

Read entire USA Today article…