Representative image
Representative image

LGBTQ adolescents experiencing weight-based bullying at risk of substance abuse

ANI | Updated: Jun 03, 2019 21:15 IST

Washington DC [USA], Jun 03 (ANI): LGBTQ adolescents who experience weight-based bullying have increased risk of substance abuse, recent findings suggest.
According to the study, weight-based victimization among sexual and gender minority youth is associated with increased odds of alcohol use, binge drinking, marijuana use, and cigarette use.
The research has found that weight-based victimization contributes to poor health in youth, including substance use and poorer emotional well-being. However, the harms of weight-based victimization have received almost no attention in LGBTQ youth, despite their high rates of obesity and high risk for victimization and psychological distress.
"The absence of research on weight-based victimization in this vulnerable population is concerning, and so our study aimed to look at how weight-based victimization is related to health behaviors of sexual and gender minority adolescents," said Rebecca Puhl, study's lead author.
The study, published in Health Psychology, reported on findings from over 9,000 LGBTQ adolescents across the country, who completed questionnaires examining their experiences of victimization, health, family relationships, and school experiences.
The findings showed that LGBTQ youth who reported being teased or bullied about their weight had increased risk of alcohol use, binge drinking, marijuana use, cigarette use, as well as poorer self-rated health, higher depressive symptoms, and lower self-esteem. These findings persisted regardless of adolescents' demographic characteristics, body weight, sexual identity, gender identity, and sexual or gender minority victimization.
The study also found that sources of weight-based victimization (peers and family members) contribute to these health consequences in different ways. LGBTQ adolescents who were teased about their weight from family members had increased substance use behaviors and poorer self-rated health and mental health, while adolescents who reported weight-based teasing from peers had increased odds of binge drinking in the last 30 days, cigarette use, and poorer mental health. (ANI)