Gay and Bisexual Teens Putting Themselves at Greater Risk: New CDC Study
The CDC has released a new study, which shows that Gay and Bisexual teens are more inclined to take chances with risky behavior versus their Heterosexual peers. The study shows that these teens are likely to take part in risky activities such as not wearing bike helmets, using alcohol and tobacco, and contemplating, or attempting, suicide. The basis of the study was surveys completed by more than 156,000 anonymous high school students from 2001 to 2009. The survey questions covered dozens of behaviors and depending on the survey location, the Gay and Bisexual teens were one half to 90% greater risk takers.
The question still remains unanswered as to why they are making these choices, however the CDC has speculated it could be because they are used to living in a social stigma and there is a correlation between taking risks and how you perceive people feel about you, as well as the environment you surround yourself with. Along with the answers which pertained to the at-risk behavior, were questions surrounding the student’s environment and living situations. There also showed an increase in the amount of Gay and Bisexual students who had been involved in fights resulting in injury, dating violence, and forced sexual contact versus Heterosexual numbers.
Teens who are Gay and Bisexual can often feel at loss, hopeless, and isolated. It is important for parents, families, and educators to recognize signs of bullying and signs of suicidal thoughts. It is crucial for teens to feel supported in their choices, one good starting place for Gay and Bisexual teens is the “It Gets Better” YouTube project. This project includes supportive videos from celebrities, officials, and private citizens who have lived through it and want to inspire and reassure others in their own journeys.
For unknown reasons, Gay and Bisexual teens are putting themselves more at-risk and this study has done a good job pointing out that behavior. Although it is not a national representation, it is by far the most wide spread study on this matter thus far. Hopefully this will open the doors to more support and a better understanding for these hurting teens within their communities, their school systems, and the world around us.
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