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The Relationship Between Bias-based Peer Victimization and Depressive Symptomatology Across Sexual and Gender Identity

15 November 2018
Karolanne O'Keefe

Publication date
November 2018

Original abstract
The current study examined the prevalence of seven types of bias-based victimization (sexual orientation, gender, expression of gender, race or ethnicity, disability, religion, and physical appearance), with an emphasis on identifying similarities and differences by sexual and gender identity, and explored the association between victimization and depressive symptomatology for different subgroups.

Data from the Teen Health and Technology Study were collected nationally online between 2010 and 2011 from 5,542 13- to 18-year-old youths in the United States.Half of all youth reported experiencing some form of bias-based victimization. Sexual and gender minority youth were more likely than heterosexually identified and cisgender youth to perceive that they had been targeted because of their sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, physical appearance, or religion. Cisgender girls were also more likely to experience bias-based victimization compared with cisgender boys. Being targeted because of one’s appearance was associated with concurrent odds of depressive symptomatology for nearly all youth. Victimization due to one’s perceived or actual sexual orientation or victimization due to one’s gender expression was only associated with increased odds of depressive symptomatology for heterosexual and cisgender youth, respectively.

Findings from the current study add to the growing body of research documenting the heightened risk for experiencing multiple types of bias-based victimization among sexual and gender minority youth. They further emphasize the importance of making distinctions within subgroups of sexual and gender minority youth. The emotional consequences of bias-based victimization for youth require that prevention should be a high priority for schools and communities.

Price-Feeney, M., M. Jones, L., Yberra, M. and J. Mithell, K. (2018). The relationship between bias-based peer victimization and depressive symptomatology across sexual and gender identity. Psychology of Violence. DOI: 10.1037/vio0000219.

To request the entire article to the authors: 

victimization, depressive symptomatology, sexual identity, gender identity, discrimination, sexual orientation, heterosexuality, cisgender


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