The preparation of this manuscript was supported by Dr. Saewyc's Research Chair in Applied Public Health focused on Adolescent Health, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Research on Adolescent Sexual Orientation: Development, Health Disparities, Stigma, and Resilience
Article first published online: 15 FEB 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Research on Adolescence © 2011 Society for Research on Adolescence
Journal of Research on Adolescence
Special Issue: Decade in Review
Volume 21, Issue 1, pages 256–272, March 2011
How to Cite
Saewyc, E. M. (2011), Research on Adolescent Sexual Orientation: Development, Health Disparities, Stigma, and Resilience. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21: 256–272. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00727.x
- Issue published online: 15 FEB 2011
- Article first published online: 15 FEB 2011
The decade between 1998 and 2008 saw rapid increases in research on adolescent sexual orientation development and related health issues, both in the quantity and in the quality of studies. While much of the research originated in North America, studies from other countries also contributed to emerging understanding of developmental trajectories and social influences on the health of sexual minority adolescents. This paper reviews the body of research from the past decade on adolescent sexual orientation, focused on issues of measurement, developmental trajectories, evidence related to health disparities, and the risks and protective factors that help explain the health and developmental challenges some lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents experience. Although many sexual minority adolescents face stigma and rejection within their families, their schools, or their communities, it should be noted that most successfully navigate the developmental tasks of adolescence and attain similar levels of health and well-being as their heterosexual peers, often despite the stigma and discrimination they encounter. Further research is needed to understand population trends as well as individual patterns of development, cultural variations in both development and health disparities, the interplay of general and unique risk factors that contribute to various health disparities and protective factors that buffer those risks, and interventions to promote the healthy development of sexual minority adolescents.