NEW YORK - New research, conducted by GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), examining how in-school victimization and institutional support affect LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) student connectedness at school, has been published in the September issue of The Prevention Researcher
Using data from GLSEN's 2007 National School Climate Survey, a national survey of 6,209 LGBT middle and high school students, the article demonstrates that anti-LGBT victimization in school is directly related to lower levels of school connectedness for LGBT youth but that institutional supports – supportive school staff, comprehensive anti-bullying policies and attendance in Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) – are directly related to increased school connectedness.
"Past research shows that feeling like a valued and accepted member of a school community is an important contributor to healthy adolescent development," said GLSEN Senior Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives Joseph Kosciw, PhD. "This article demonstrates how in-school victimization negatively affects that sense of school connectedness for LGBT youth. We also find that access to institutional supports can make a positive difference in the lives of LGBT youth and plays a critical role in interrupting the damaging relationship between hostile school climate and school connectedness."
Being victimized in school because of one's sexual orientation or gender expression was directly related to lower school connectedness, and institutional supports were directly related to increase connectedness.
Having supportive school staff and comprehensive anti-bullying policies that include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression were directly related to greater school connectedness.
Participating in a school GSA was directly related to greater school connectedness.
Having supportive staff and a GSA were each related to increased GSA attendance, and, therefore, indirectly related to greater connectedness.
Find the article at The Prevention Researcher
GLSEN research experts have been interviewed for numerous media outlets in almost every region of the country. They make the case that anti-LGBT bullying and harassment is a pervasive problem in America's schools and offer evidence-based solutions that can help improve school climate for all students.
Elizabeth M. Diaz, Senior Research Associate at GLSEN, has an M.A. in Sociology from George Washington University and a B.A. in Sociology and Chicano/a Studies from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Her research interests include the educational experiences of LGBTQ youth of color and differential access to school-based resources and supports. Diaz joined GLSEN in 2004.
Joseph G. Kosciw, Senior Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives at GLSEN, has a Ph.D. in Psychology from New York University, a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. He trained as a family therapist and has worked as a school counselor and psychoeducational consultant in elementary and secondary schools. He has been involved in GLSEN’s research efforts since 1999 and has been with GLSEN full-time since 2003.
Emily A. Greytak, Senior Research Associate at GLSEN, has a Ph.D. and an M.S.Ed. in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Psychology from Haverford College. Her research interests include the experiences of transgender youth, evaluation of training programs, and the readiness of school personnel to foster safe school environments. Greytak first became involved with GLSEN as a volunteer chapter member 12 years ago and has been part of GLSEN’s staff since 2006.
GLSEN located survey participants through community-based groups serving LGBT youth and via the Internet. The sample consisted of a total of 6,209 LGBT K-12 students, from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, between the ages of 13 and 21. A total of 5,487 youth were included in the current analysis.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community.
GLSEN research focuses on understanding the school experiences of all students, specifically as they are related to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, the school experiences of LGBT parents, perceptions of educators and school administrators regarding school climate, and the utility of school- and community-based efforts regarding bullying and harassment.