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“Sexual and gender minority youth’s health: disparities, mechanisms, and protective factors” by dr. Wouter Kiekens
Thursday 21 September, 20:00 - 22:00
Sexual and gender minority adolescents are often found to report poorer mental health than their heterosexual, cisgender peers. They often also report higher rates of substance use, such as alcohol, smoking, and tobacco.
Measuring these disparities among young people is challenging as it is hard to determine the actual influence on mental health. The same is true for finding the origin of their mental issues and high drug usage. To many it is shocking how a relatively small part of our identity like sexual orientation can have such a big influence on our health. Furthermore, we have to ask to what extent the issues are caused by just the fear of being discriminated against and to what extent it is practised discrimination. Finding methods to prevent both is essential to fight the problems that this minority group is facing.
Dr. Wouter Kiekens is currently an assistant professor at the sociology department of the RUG. He focussed his PhD on explaining the mental health and substance use among LGBT youth. In this project, he developed a measure of rejection sensitivity for sexual minority youth. This gave more insight on how expecting that somebody will for instance discriminate against you because of your sexual orientation already affects youth’s health.