Literature Review

The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 273-309

First online:

A Systematic Review of Parental Influences on the Health and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth: Time for a New Public Health Research and Practice Agenda

  • Alida BourisAffiliated withUniversity of Chicago School of Social Service Administration Email author 
  • , Vincent Guilamo-RamosAffiliated withNew York University Silver School of Social Work
  • , Angela PickardAffiliated withUniversity of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health
  • , Chengshi ShiuAffiliated withUniversity of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
  • , Penny S. LoosierAffiliated withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
  • , Patricia DittusAffiliated withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
  • , Kari GloppenAffiliated withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
  • , J. Michael WaldmillerAffiliated withCenters for Disease Control and Prevention

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Relatively little is known about how parents influence the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents and young adults. This gap has led to a paucity of parent-based interventions for LGB young people. A systematic literature review on parental influences on the health of LGB youth was conducted to better understand how to develop a focused program of applied public health research. Five specific areas of health among LGB young people aged 10–24 years old were examined: (a) sexual behavior; (b) substance use; (c) violence and victimization; (d) mental health; and (e) suicide. A total of 31 quantitative articles were reviewed, the majority of which were cross-sectional and relied on convenience samples. Results indicated a trend to focus on negative, and not positive, parental influences. Other gaps included a dearth of research on sexual behavior, substance use, and violence/victimization; limited research on ethnic minority youth and on parental influences identified as important in the broader prevention science literature; and no studies reporting parent perspectives. The review highlights the need for future research on how parents can be supported to promote the health of LGB youth. Recommendations for strengthening the research base are provided.


Parental influences Gay Lesbian Bisexual Same-sex attraction Adolescents Young adults Health risk behavior Sexual behavior Mental health Violence Victimization Suicide Substance use