Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 45, Issue 7, pp 1269–1282 | Cite as

Gay-Straight Alliances are Associated with Lower Levels of School-Based Victimization of LGBTQ+ Youth: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

  • Robert A. MarxEmail author
  • Heather Hensman Kettrey
Empirical Research


Gay-straight alliances (GSAs) are school-based organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth and their allies that often attempt to improve school climate for sexual and gender minority youth. This meta-analysis evaluates the association between school GSA presence and youth’s self-reports of school-based victimization by quantitatively synthesizing 15 primary studies with 62,923 participants. Findings indicate GSA presence is associated with significantly lower levels of youth’s self-reports of homophobic victimization, fear for safety, and hearing homophobic remarks, and these results are robust, controlling for a variety of study-level factors. The findings of this meta-analysis provide evidence to support GSAs as a means of protecting LGTBQ+ youth from school-based victimization.


Gay-straight alliances LGBTQ+ youth Victimization Bullying 



The authors would like to thank Emily Tanner-Smith for her valuable input on this project and feedback on an earlier draft of this manuscript. We would also like to thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

Author Contributions

RAM conceived of the study, participated in the design, data collection, and analysis for the study, and drafted the manuscript. HHK conceived of the study, participated in the design and data collection for the study, and drafted the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.


The authors declare that they received no funding to support this research.

Ethical Approval

As this research was a quantitative synthesis of publicly available material, ethical approval from the authors’ Institutional Review Board was not required.

Informed Consent

As the research did not involve human participants, the authors could not and did not obtain informed consent.


*Denotes study included in meta-analysis

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human and Organizational Development, Peabody College of EducationVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Peabody Research InstituteVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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