• lesbian and gay youth;
  • mental wellbeing;
  • social support


Lesbian and gay young adults can experience adverse life conditions associated with their sexual minority status. It is not always easy for them to obtain the necessary social support to cope with these challenges. We used short-term longitudinal data from a survey of 197 lesbian and gay young adults (121 males and 76 females) to investigate how and to what extent the availability of confidants affects depression, hopelessness and self-esteem. We also investigated whether and to what extent mental health outcomes are related not only to initial levels of confidant support but also to changes regarding the availability of confidants. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and hierarchical stepwise regression analysis. Results showed that confidant support at base level correlated only with the perceived quality of lesbian and gay friendships and not with parental acceptance. Also, change in confidant support over time seemed to be more important than its initial levels. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.