Beyond risk: Resilience in the lives of sexual minority youth

Stephen T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Several decades of research tell us that sexual minority youth are among those most at risk for the negative outcomes of frequent concern in the lives of young people: academic failure, emotional distress, compromised relationships, risk behavior, and suicidality. We know much less about resilience, the characteristics and factors that explain or predict the healthy adolescent and adult lives of most sexual minorities. How can we move,“beyond risk” to understanding resilience? I outline a context for the focus on risk in studies of sexual minority youth and then discuss the conceptual distinctions between risk, risk factors, risk outcomes, protective factors, and resilience. I argue that an important area for further research will be to identify risk and protective factors that are unique to sexual minority youth. Recent research on school-based harassment and victimization is used as an example of research on LGBT issues in education that is grounded in the history of risk while offering the potential for significant advances in thinking about resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Gay and Lesbian Issues in Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 19 2005


  • Adolescence
  • Education
  • Gay-straight alliances
  • Harassment
  • Mental health
  • Resilience
  • Risk
  • Schools
  • Sexual minority youth
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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