Gender Nonconformity, Sexual Orientation, and Dutch Adolescents’ Relationship with Peers
Same-sex attraction and gender nonconformity have both been shown to negatively affect the relationships of adolescents with their peers. It is not clear, though, whether same-sex attracted adolescents are more likely to have negative peer relationships because they are same-sex attracted or because they are more likely to be gender nonconforming. It is also possible that both stressors affect peer relationships independently or amplify each other in their impact. We explored these questions in a sample of 486 Dutch adolescents (Mage = 14.02 years). We found that same-sex attraction and gender nonconformity both had an independent effect and that gender nonconformity moderated, but not mediated, the associations between same-sex attraction and peer relationships at school. Same-sex attraction was more strongly associated with poorer relationships with peers in adolescents who were more gender nonconforming. These findings indicate the importance of including gender nonconformity in the understanding of same-sex attracted adolescents’ relationships and suggest that in order to improve same-sex attracted adolescents’ social position at school, acceptance of gender diversity should be promoted as well.
KeywordsSexual orientation Gender nonconformity Gender role Adolescent peer relationships Netherlands
Theo Sandfort’s contribution to the preparation of this article was supported by NIMH center Grant P30-MH43520 (P.I.: Robert Remien, Ph.D.) to HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Research.
- Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Brand, S., Felner, R., Shim, M., Seitsinger, A., & Dumas, T. (2003). Middle school improvement and reform: development and validation of a school-level assessment of climate, cultural pluralism, and school safety. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 570–588. doi:10.1037/0022-06126.96.36.1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Collier, K. L., van Beusekom, G., Bos, H. M., & Sandfort, T. G. (2013). Sexual orientation and gender identity/expression related peer victimization in adolescence: A systematic review of associated psychosocial and health outcomes. Journal of Sex Research, 50, 299–317. doi:10.1080/00224499.2012.750639.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- D’Augelli, A. R. (1996). Lesbian, gay, and bisexual development during adolescence and young adulthood. In R. P. Cabaj & T. S. Stein (Eds.), Textbook of homosexuality and mental health (pp. 267–288). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.Google Scholar
- Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Hofstede, G. (1998). Masculinity/femininity as a dimension of culture. Masculinity and femininity: The taboo dimension of national cultures. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Jaccard, J., & Turrisi, R. (2003). Interaction effects in multiple regression (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Kelley, J. (2001). Attitudes towards homosexuality in 29 nations. Australian Social Monitor, 4, 15–21.Google Scholar
- Kersten, J., & Sandfort, T. G. M. (1994). Lesbische en homoseksuele adolescenten in de schoolsituatie. Een inventarisatie van knelpunten, problemen en oplossingen [Lesbian and gay adolescentsin school: An assessment of bottlenecks, problems, and solutions]. Utrecht, the Netherlands: Universiteit Utrecht, ISOR.Google Scholar
- Lippa, R. A. (2002). Gender, nature and nurture. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc.Google Scholar
- Logie, C. H., Newman, P. A., Chakrapani, V., & Shunmugam, M. (2012). Adapting the minority stress model: Associations between gender non-conformity stigma, HIV-related stigma and depression among men who have sex with men in South India. Social Science and Medicine, 74, 1261–1268. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.01.008.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ruble, D. N., Martin, C. L., & Berenbaum, S. A. (2006). Gender development. In R. H. Lerner & N. Eisenberg (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (pp. 858–932). Hoboken, NJ: John Wilsey & Sons.Google Scholar
- Sandfort, Th G M. (1998). Homosexual and bisexual behaviour in European countries. In M. Hubert, N. Bajos, & T. G. M. Sandfort (Eds.), Sexual behaviour and HIV/AIDS in Europe (pp. 68–105). London: UCL Press.Google Scholar
- Sandfort, T. G. M. (2005). Homofobie: welkprobleem? Wiensprobleem? [Homophobia: Which problem? Whose problem?]. Tijdschrift voor Seksuologie, 29, 11–18.Google Scholar
- Sandfort, T. G. M., McGaskey, J., & Bos, H. (2008). Understanding cross-national differences in the acceptance of homosexuality. Paper presented at the meeting of the International Academy of Sex Research, Leuven, Belgium.Google Scholar
- Singh, D. (2012). A follow-up study of boys with gender identity disorder. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto.Google Scholar
- Steensma, T. D., Zucker, K. J., Kreukels, B. P., VanderLaan, D. P., Wood, H., Fuentes, A., & Cohen-Kettenis, P. T. (2014). Behavioral and emotional problems on the Teacher’s Report Form: A cross-national, cross-clinic comparative analysis of gender dysphoric children and adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42, 635–647.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wallien, M. S., & Cohen-Kettenis, P. T. (2008). Psychosexual outcome of gender-dysphoric children. Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47, 1413–1423. doi:10.1097/CHI.0b013e31818956b9.
- Zucker, K. J., & Bradley, S. J. (1995). Gender identity disorder and psychosexual problems in children and adolescents. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar