Connected, Respected and Contributing to Their World: The Case of Sexual Minority and Non-Minority Young People in Ireland
Health Promotion Research Centre, National University of Ireland Galway, H91 TK33 Galway, Ireland
School of Education, National University of Ireland Galway, H91 TK33 Galway, Ireland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1118; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031118
Received: 31 December 2020 / Revised: 21 January 2021 / Accepted: 23 January 2021 / Published: 27 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Children's Health)
Outcome 5 of the Irish Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures national youth policy framework (“Connected, respected, and contributing to their world”) offers a suitable way to study psychosocial determinants of adolescent health. The present study (1) provides nationally representative data on how 15- to 17-year-olds score on these indicators; (2) compares sexual minority (same- and both-gender attracted youth) with their non-minority peers. We analyzed data from 3354 young people (aged 15.78 ± 0.78 years) participating in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study in Ireland. Age and social class were associated with the indicators only to a small extent, but girls were more likely than boys to report discrimination based on gender and age. Frequency of positive answers ranged from 67% (feeling comfortable with friends) to 12% (being involved in volunteer work). Sexual minority youth were more likely to feel discriminated based on sexual orientation, age, and gender. Both-gender attracted youth were less likely than the other groups to report positive outcomes. Same-gender attracted youth were twice as likely as non-minority youth to volunteer. The results indicate the importance of a comprehensive approach to psycho-social factors in youth health, and the need for inclusivity of sexual minority (especially bisexual) youth.