LGBTQ youth anxiety: an examination of protective and risk factors

Author: Emily Townley
Major: Psychology
Approved: Spring 2019
Status: Completed

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of protective and risk factors on anxiety reported by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) youth. Previous research showed that LGBTQ individuals tended to have higher levels of depression, but little research had been done specifically on anxiety and the effect that protective and risk factors had on that anxiety. The results of this study showed that LGBTQ individuals did have higher levels of anxiety, as well as depression and stress, than their non-LGBTQ peers. Furthermore, the protective factors of LGBTQ supportive school policies and Gay Straight Alliances were correlated with lower anxiety scores of LGBTQ individuals. These were also associated with lower stress scores and negative attitudes of the LGBTQ community from non-LGBTQ individuals. While there were significant correlations between mental health and protective factors, there were no significant correlations for risk factors. The findings of this study support that although LGBTQ individuals are in a vulnerable population, with the proper protective factors, their mental health may improve.