Self-esteem and supportiveness as predictors of emotional distress in gay male and lesbian youth

Arnold H. Grossman, Matthew S. Kerner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Many gay male and lesbian youth experience isolation, self-hatred, and other emotional stressors related to harassment and abuse from peers and adults, leading to risk factors associated with alcohol and substance abuse, suicide, prostitution, running away, and school problems. Research findings have indicated that high levels of self-esteem and social supports may moderate gay-identified stressors. The current study examined self-esteem and satisfaction with supportiveness as predictors of emotional distress in a sample of 90 self-identified urban gay male and lesbian youth. The sample of 58 gay male and 32 lesbian youth (ages 14 to 21 years) were predominantly black and Latino/a. Findings indicated self-esteem as a predictor of moderate strength for emotional distress for the total and male samples; however, it proved to be a strong predictor for the female sample. Satisfaction with supportiveness, however, proved to be insignificant in explaining the variance of emotional distress. As the latter is contrary to anecdotal evidence, it is recommended that future studies examine satisfaction with specific types of supportiveness rather than the global measure used in the current study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-39
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • General Psychology


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