Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Moore

Abstract

My research explores the question: What protective factors in education promote psychological well being among Gender and Sexual Minority (GSM) youth? There is extensive research on the risk factors GSM youth face at disproportionate rates compared to their peers such as victimization, depression, suicide attempts, and suicide ideation. It is vital that the education system provides resources for the GSM population to ensure a safe environment for students in order to promote well being and academic achievement. School counselors and psychiatrists can utilize therapy practices that target the specific needs of GSM youth. Broader protective factors include support programs, self esteem, safety, and a positive school climate for GSM students. Educators support training and curriculum inclusivity for GSM topics but the majority do not feel prepared to practice teaching these topics in the classroom. Educators at schools with inclusive anti bullying policies feel more equipped to cover GSM topics and feel their GSM students are safer compared to schools without these policies. More specifically inclusivity in sexual education promotes better well being among GSM youth. I recommend increased training for educators and medical health professionals such as school nurses on GSM specific needs. I also recommend school psychiatrists and counselors make efforts to be well versed in therapy practices that target the needs of GSM youth.

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Protective Factors in Education for Gender and Sexual Minority Youth

My research explores the question: What protective factors in education promote psychological well being among Gender and Sexual Minority (GSM) youth? There is extensive research on the risk factors GSM youth face at disproportionate rates compared to their peers such as victimization, depression, suicide attempts, and suicide ideation. It is vital that the education system provides resources for the GSM population to ensure a safe environment for students in order to promote well being and academic achievement. School counselors and psychiatrists can utilize therapy practices that target the specific needs of GSM youth. Broader protective factors include support programs, self esteem, safety, and a positive school climate for GSM students. Educators support training and curriculum inclusivity for GSM topics but the majority do not feel prepared to practice teaching these topics in the classroom. Educators at schools with inclusive anti bullying policies feel more equipped to cover GSM topics and feel their GSM students are safer compared to schools without these policies. More specifically inclusivity in sexual education promotes better well being among GSM youth. I recommend increased training for educators and medical health professionals such as school nurses on GSM specific needs. I also recommend school psychiatrists and counselors make efforts to be well versed in therapy practices that target the needs of GSM youth.

 
 

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