Antecedents and Consequences of Victimization of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young People: A Structural Model Comparing Rural University and Urban Samples1

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Abstract

Research indicates that antigay victimization is widespread and that lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people may be very vulnerable to such victimization. The current study builds upon previous work by Hershberger and D'Augelli (1995), who studied the consequences of sexual orientation-based victimization in 194 urban lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths. Using structural equation modeling, the present study models both antecedents and consequences (including psychological distress, self-esteem, and suicidality) of victimization via a secondary analysis of their data set. In addition, a second sample of 54 lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths from a rural university setting was examined to cross-validate and generalize the relationships found in urban settings. Results indicated that a revised model of victimization exhibited sufficient fit to the urban sample data and provided preliminary support for the generalizability of the model beyond the initial sample. Additional similarities were found between the urban and rural university community samples, including a high prevalence of reported suicide attempts: 42% of the urban sample and 32% of the rural university sample had attempted suicide at least once. Results indicated that victimization based on sexual orientation has similar correlates for young people in different community settings.

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