Sexual orientation among Icelandic year 10 adolescents: Changes in health and life satisfaction from 2006 to 2014
AbstractBackground: Minority sexual orientation may add additional stresses to the period of adolescence thus affecting mental health and wellbeing.
Method: The whole population of year 10 students in 2006, 2010, and 2014 in Iceland were surveyed as part of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey. About 3.1%, 3.6%, and 4.4% were identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) in 2006, 2010, and 2014, respectively. Given the sampling proportions, the results reflect parameters (population values) rather than statistics (sample values).
Results: LGB adolescents were worse off across most of the outcome variables across the three surveys as compared with adolescents of unknown sexual orientation (USO). However, the gap between LGB and USO adolescents appears to be closing, at least for the 2010 to 2014 change, suggesting that outcomes for LGB adolescents have improved compared to four years earlier. Social support, liking school and one’s classmates, being bullied, and physical and mental health all seem to play an important part in life satisfaction and general wellbeing.
Conclusion: While advances have been made for LGB adolescents, gaps between LGB and USO adolescents still exist and need to be closed through evidence-based school and society-wide programs.