Sources of Social Support and Mental Health Among LGB Youth

Ryan J. Watson, Arnold H. Grossman, Stephen T. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disparities in psychosocial adjustment have been identified for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth, yet research that explores multiple sources of social support among subgroups of LGB youth is sparse. Social support theory is used as a framework to analyze the ways that different sources of support might promote better psychosocial adjustment for LGB youth. Data from a diverse sample among LGB youth (N = 835) were used to understand how social support from a close friend, teachers, classmates, and parents might be differently associated with depression and self-esteem. We found that parent support and its importance to the participant were consistently related to higher self-esteem and lower depression for all youth, except for lesbians for whom no forms of social support were associated with self-esteem. Teacher and classmate support influenced some subgroups more than others. These results provide parents, clinicians, and schools a roadmap to assist youth navigate supports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-48
Number of pages19
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • LGB
  • depression
  • parent support
  • self-esteem
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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