ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) recipient, Dr Francisco Perales, based at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course at The University of Queensland, has conducted a study which has shown that Australian lesbian, gay, bisexual and questioning (LGBQ) adolescents are worse off than their heterosexual peers across health and wellbeing outcomes. The research analysed data from The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children , a national probability survey following the lives of almost 10,000 children from around Australia since birth or early childhood. The study draws attention to the disadvantage experienced by LGBQ youth and shows that these EARLY DIFFERENCES AND DISADVANTAGE IN HEALTH OUTCOMES FOR LGBQ PEOPLE
differences in health and wellbeing outcomes start early, during or before adolescence. It was the first study to identify the domains of health and wellbeing on which disparities between sexual-minority and heterosexual teens differed the most—highlighting which health areas require priority intervention. In a further study, the researchers have shown that it is the unique pressures faced by LGBQ youth, such as homophobic bullying at school and rejection by family members upon ‘coming out’, that are the source of these health problems. Dr Perales says that documenting health disparities between LGBQ and heterosexual adolescents is a first step in addressing health inequalities by sexual orientation. By focusing attention on the issue, it facilitates priority shifts in policy and practice, and developing effective and efficient interventions.
“IDENTIFYING EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT INTERVENTIONS TO IMPROVE THE OUTCOMES OF THESE YOUNG PEOPLE NEEDS TO BE AN URGENT TASK FOR RESEARCHERS AND POLICY-MAKERS,” SAYS DR PERALES.
Celebrating and Dancing stock photo. Istock.com/FG Trade.
STRIVING FOR CULTURAL AND SOCIAL OUTCOMES
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