Increased Substance Use and Poorer Mental Health Found Among LGBTQ Adolescents Experiencing Weight Bullying
Research has found that weight-based victimization contributes to poor health in youth, including substance use and poorer emotional well-being. However, the harms of weight-based victimization have received almost no attention in LGBTQ youth, despite high rates of obesity and high risk for victimization and psychological distress. The study, published in Health Psychology, reports on findings from over 9,000 LGBTQ adolescents across the country who completed questionnaires examining their experiences of victimization, health, family relationships and school experiences.
Study findings showed that LGBTQ youth who reported being teased or bullied about their weight had increased risk of alcohol use, binge drinking, marijuana use, cigarette use, as well as poorer self-rated health, higher depressive symptoms, and lower self-esteem. These findings persisted regardless of adolescents' demographic characteristics, body weight, sexual identity, gender identity, and sexual or gender minority victimization.