Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 39, Issue 10, pp 1148–1163 | Cite as

Relationship Trajectories and Psychological Well-Being Among Sexual Minority Youth

  • José A. BauermeisterEmail author
  • Michelle Marie Johns
  • Theo G. M. Sandfort
  • Anna Eisenberg
  • Arnold H. Grossman
  • Anthony R. D’Augelli
Empirical Research


Dating in adolescence plays an integral part in the development of sexual and social identities. This process is particularly salient for sexual minority youth who face additional obstacles to their identity formation due to their marginalized status. We investigated the influence of participating in a same-sex relationship (SSR) or an opposite-sex relationship (OSR) on sexual minority youths’ psychological well-being (i.e., symptoms of depression, anxiety and internalized homophobia, and self-esteem) in an ethnically-diverse sample of 350 youth (55% male) between the ages of 15–19 years, recruited from three GLBT drop-in centers in the New York City area. Using longitudinal data, we examined youths’ SSR and OSR over time. Multivariate regression analyses suggest that involvement in a SSR was positively associated with changes in self-esteem in males, and negatively correlated with changes in internalized homophobia in females. We discuss the implications for positive development in sexual minority adolescent populations.


Dating Sexual minority Gay, lesbian and bisexual Mental health Adolescence Sexuality 



Data for this project was collected as part of a five-year National Institute of Mental Health grant, RO1-MH058155 (“Victimization and Mental Health among High Risk Youths”), awarded to Drs. Anthony R. D’Augelli and Arnold H. Grossman.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • José A. Bauermeister
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michelle Marie Johns
    • 1
  • Theo G. M. Sandfort
    • 2
  • Anna Eisenberg
    • 1
  • Arnold H. Grossman
    • 3
  • Anthony R. D’Augelli
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral StudiesNew York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Applied PsychologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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