Changes in Victimization Risk and Disparities for Heterosexual and Sexual Minority Youth: Trends From 2009 to 2017

V. Paul Poteat, Michelle Birkett, Blair Turner, Xinzi Wang, Gregory Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to identify sex-stratified trends in victimization risk specific to heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning youth while considering changes in sexual orientation-disparities from 2009 to 2017. METHODS: Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data collected biennially (five waves; 2009-2017) were pooled across 56 jurisdictions and 454,715 students for one of the most nationally representative samples of heterosexual and sexual minority youth to date. We analyzed a seven-item victimization risk assessment using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended trend analysis approach. We used logistic regression with year-by-identity interactions to test whether sexual orientation-based disparities widened, narrowed, or were maintained over time. RESULTS: Victimization risk declined significantly for male and female bisexual and questioning youth, lesbian, gay, and heterosexual youth. Disparities narrowed between bisexual, questioning, and lesbian females and heterosexual females and between bisexual and heterosexual males. Nevertheless, sexual orientation-based disparities remained significant for all sexual minority youth in 2017. CONCLUSIONS: Distinct patterns of change in victimization risk for specific groups of sexual minority youth underscore the need to consider variability within sexual minority youth communities; treating them as a singular group could mask nuanced disparities. Some of the relatively small decreases in victimization risk also suggest the need for interventions to address a more comprehensive set of victimization-related risks beyond bullying and needed efforts that are not limited to the immediate school context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-209
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Disparities
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning youth
  • Sexual orientation
  • Trends
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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