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Bullying Declines over Time for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth: Study

Update Date: Feb 04, 2013 07:25 AM EST

According to a new study, high school students who identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual are more likely to get bullied, but the rates of bullying decrease later in life.

Researchers collected data from a group of teens from England for seven years and found while bullying does decrease during early adulthood, some form of discrimination remains, and that girls may be less bullied than boys in young adulthood.

"It gets better for lesbian and bisexual females, relatively, but for gay and bisexual males, relative to their straight male peers, it gets worse after high school. Their rates of being bullied are not dropping as quickly," said Joseph Robinson, assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and lead author of the study, reports USA Today.

The data for the study came from more than 4,000 adolescents from England. Between ages 18 and 20, about 5 percent of the participants reported that they were lesbian, gay or bisexuals. Researchers analyzed previous records to assess their responses during childhood. Researchers found that 57 percent girls, lesbian and bisexuals, reported that they were bullied at school when they were 13-14 years old, compared to 6 percent who reported being bullied at age 18-20. About 52 percent boys, gays and bisexuals, said that they were bullied at age 13-14, compared to 9 percent at age 18-20, reports USA Today.

A recent study had found that "coming out of the closet" makes people more relaxed and so at lower risk for many health complications later in life. However, these benefits are more likely to be available for people living in more open societies. In other less-tolerant societies, acknowledging that one is gay, bisexual or lesbian causes more stress and eventually places one at a higher risk for many health problems.

Robinson said that schools can prevent teens from getting bullied by their peers by including LGB topics in the school curriculum and having policies that teach other kids to not discriminate their peers based on their sexual orientation, reports Reuters Health.

The study is published in journal Pediatrics.          

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