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Sexual minority adolescents and mental health 

Sexual minority adolescents and mental health
Chapter:
Sexual minority adolescents and mental health
Author(s):

Richard Montoro

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198792994.003.0027
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date: 05 December 2020

Sexual minority youth is a broad term that includes adolescents from both sexual orientation and gender minorities. As a major task of adolescence is identity formation, sexual minority youth are particularly vulnerable during this period of self-definition (‘coming out’) both because of societal stigma and traditionally poor parental support. This chapter will start by defining the common terms used by the diverse identities in this population and outlining basic concepts in sexual orientation and gender identity. The literature demonstrating the central role of stigma in creating the mental health disparities of sexual minority youth will be reviewed. As stigma is present at individual, interpersonal, and structural levels, the chapter will conclude with a discussion of the multiple multi-level interventions necessary to have an impact on these disparities. Policymakers and clinicians are uniquely positioned to have a powerful impact on the mental health disparities of sexual minority youth.

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