Greater Engagement Among Members of Gay-Straight Alliances: Individual and Structural Contributors

V. Paul Poteat, Nicholas C. Heck, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Jerel P. Calzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using youth program models to frame the study of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), we identified individual and structural predictors of greater engagement in these settings with a cross-sectional sample of 295 youth in 33 GSAs from the 2014 Massachusetts GSA Network Survey (69% LGBQ, 68% cisgender female, 68% White,Mage =16.07). Multilevel modeling results indicated that members who perceived more support/socializing from their GSA, had more LGB friends, were longer serving members, and were in GSAs with more open and respectful climates reported greater engagement. Further, there was a curvilinear association between organizational structure in the GSA and engagement: Perceptions of more structure were associated with greater engagement to a point, after which greater structure was related to less engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1732-1758
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Educational Research Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Gay-Straight Alliance
  • bisexual
  • engagement
  • gay
  • lesbian
  • organizational structure
  • transgender
  • youth programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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