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Goldbach receives grant to study stress in LGBT adolescents

Jeremy Goldbach will study minority stress experience among LGBT youth. (USC Photo/Brian Goodman)

Jeremy Goldbach, assistant professor at the USC School of Social Work, has been awarded a grant from the USC James H. Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund to develop a measure of stress for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adolescents.

The award of $24,195 will help Goldbach collect pilot data for an ongoing project that examines how chronic stress associated with identifying as a sexual minority contributes to negative outcomes among LGBT adolescents.

Compared to their heterosexual peers, LGBT youth experience higher rates of substance use, depression, anxiety and self-harming behaviors. Some studies have indicated that as much as 42 percent of LGBT adolescents have attempted suicide, nearly six times the rate of their heterosexual peers. A recent meta-analysis of 28 studies found that LGBT youth are more likely to be sexually and physically abused by parents and bullied by peers, which may increase negative behavioral health outcomes.

Knowledge of the mechanisms of minority stress that contribute to poor outcomes among LGBT adolescents is limited. Not only is there a lack of tested and reliable assessment tools that measure minority stress, but previous studies have relied almost exclusively on convenient or easily recruited participants rather than more rigorous sampling methods, limiting the ability to generalize findings across LGBT youth populations.

Goldbach’s study will attempt to fill in these gaps by exploring the feasibility of using respondent-driven sampling to recruit LGBT adolescents for a study of their minority stress experiences.

Competition for the Zumberge awards was intense, with approximately one in three applications receiving funding. The grant provides individual awards to new research faculty members to help launch their careers and support research in areas with limited funding opportunities.

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