Parent Support Matters for the Educational Success of Sexual Minorities

Ryan J. Watson, Melissa A. Barnett, Stephen T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Recent research has documented disparities in academic experiences and achievement for sexual minorities. Two important correlates of well-being for all youths are their relationships with family members and experiences at schools. We used nationally representative data to investigate whether the association between perceived maternal and parental support (defined as warm, firm, and accepting parental bonds) and educational outcomes differs for sexual minority compared to heterosexual youths. The sample consisted of 12,064 participants. Results indicated that parent support was significantly associated with grade point average (GPA), school belonging, and school troubles for both sexual minority and heterosexual participants, but the magnitudes differed. In addition, we found a two-way interaction between sexual minority status and parental support in association with school belonging, indicating that for sexual minority youths, low parental support was associated with particularly low levels of school belonging compared to heterosexual youths. This project highlights the importance of family support as a contributor for healthy development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-202
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 14 2016


  • GLBT family
  • educational achievement
  • parent support
  • school belonging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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