Disengaged or Bookworm: Academics, Mental Health, and Success for Sexual Minority Youth

Ryan J. Watson, Stephen T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Same-sex attracted youth (SSAY) experience higher rates of negative mental health outcomes compared with their heterosexual peers; however, the association between sexual minority status and academic achievement is less clear. We used four waves of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to compare 1,279 ethnically diverse SSAY (57% male) based on the degree to which they were "engaged" (65%) or "disengaged" (35%) in school, classified through cluster analysis techniques. The pattern of results indicated significantly better mental health among the engaged group one and 6 years later (e.g., fewer depressive symptoms, less alcohol use), and more occupational and educational achievement eleven years later. The implications of school connection and achievement across a decade of life are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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