Peer Victimization of Sexual Minority and Transgender Youth: A Cross-Sectional Study of High School Students
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Peer Victimization of Sexual Minority and Transgender Youth: A Cross-Sectional Study of High School Students

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  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      Psychol Violence
    • Description:

      To identify rates of victimization experiences by gender identity and sexual orientation in a large regional sample of 14-to-17-year old high school students.


      All 10th grade students from 27 Northeastern high schools were invited to participate in a survey of dating and sexual experiences (N = 2,766).


      Compared with heterosexual youth, sexual minority youth reported greater peer victimization of every kind (i.e., bullying, sexual harassment, unwanted sexual contact and intercourse, and every type of dating conflict [threatening behavior, physical abuse, and sexual abuse]). Sexual minority girls evinced particularly high levels of bullying. Similarly, transgender youth were more likely than nontransgender youth to experience every form of peer victimization except physical abuse in a dating relationship. Cumulatively, 91% of sexual minority girls, 86% of transgender youth, and 79% of sexual minority boys experienced at least one form of peer victimization, compared to 78% of heterosexual girls and 63% of heterosexual boys. Further, 14% of transgender youth experienced all 4 victimization types in the past year alone. Finally, bias-based harassment was rarely the only form of victimization experienced by these youth.


      The victimization of sexual minority youth, particularly girls, and transgender youth was pervasive across individual forms of victimization and multiple forms of victimization concurrently. Further, bias-based harassment was imbedded within a pattern of victimization, such that youth experienced it in concert with multiple other forms of victimization. Researchers implementing prevention-based programs for interpersonal violence should examine the experiences of and impact on youth of diverse gender and sexual identities.

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