Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 38, Issue 7, pp 976–988 | Cite as

Who, What, Where, When, and Why: Demographic and Ecological Factors Contributing to Hostile School Climate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth

  • Joseph G. KosciwEmail author
  • Emily A. Greytak
  • Elizabeth M. Diaz
Empirical Research


This study examines how locational (region and locale), community-level (school district poverty and adult educational attainment), and school district-level (district size and ratios of students to key school personnel) variables are related to indicators of hostile school climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. Indicators of hostile climate included frequency of homophobic remarks and victimization regarding sexual orientation and gender expression. We used data from a national survey of LGBT secondary school students (N = 5,420; 57.6% female; 65.5% White; mean age = 15.9). Results from regression analyses demonstrated that LGBT youth in rural communities and communities with lower adult educational attainment may face particularly hostile school climates. School district characteristics contributed little to the variation in LGBT youth’s experiences. Findings highlight the importance of considering the multiple contexts that LGBT youth inhabit, particularly as they pertain to educational experiences.


LGBT youth School climate Bullying and harassment Contextual factors 



The authors would like to thank IBM for their grant support of the original study. We would also like to thank the youth participants and the LGBT youth services and programs that assisted in data collection, as well as Sam Klugman, Justin Rosado, Kate Jerman, Leigh Howard and Sean Fischer for their research assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph G. Kosciw
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emily A. Greytak
    • 1
  • Elizabeth M. Diaz
    • 1
  1. 1.GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network)New YorkUSA

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