Despite a widespread interest in the health of the gay community, the psychosocial and medical problems of gay and bisexual adolescents have not been adequately investigated. In this study, 29 gay and bisexual male teenagers participated in anonymous and confidential interviews regarding the impact of sexuality on family, employment, education, peers, intimate relationships, and physical and mental health. The majority of subjects experienced school problems related to sexuality, substance abuse, and/or emotional difficulties warranting mental health interventions. In addition, nearly half of the subjects reported a history of sexually transmitted diseases, running away from home, or conflict with the law. A minority had been victims of sexual assaults or involved in prostitution. Those less than 18 years of age experienced higher rates of psychiatric hospitalization, substance abuse, high school drop-out, and conflict with the law than did older participants. Various explanations for the prevalence of these problems and their implications for health professionals are discussed.
- Received February 13, 1986.
- Accepted May 20, 1986.
- Copyright © 1987 by the American Academy of Pediatrics