Health Risks of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth Related to Parental Response to Disclosure
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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth have increased risks to health compared to their heterosexual peers including depression, substance use and abuse, high risk sexual behaviors, violence, victimization, and suicidality. Strong parent-adolescent relationships can promote health for youth, but these relationships can be negatively impacted and even severed upon sexual minority status disclosure or discovery. This paper reviews literature on the subject of parental responses to adolescent disclosure of sexual minority status and the positive or negative consequences those responses have on adolescent health risks. Additionally, to provide the perspective of the parent, literature that examines parental experiences upon learning their child is a sexual minority is included. Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model provides a theoretical framework explicating the ecological influences that shape the parental response to disclosure and ultimately, the health of the youth. Nursing implications include recognizing the potential disruption in parent-adolescent relationships and intervening to prevent family crises, minimize adolescent health risks, and promote health.