Sexual and Reproductive Health Web Sites: An Analysis of Content for Sexual and Gender Minority Youth

Jack Andrzejewski*, Catherine N. Rasberry, Brian Mustanski, Riley J. Steiner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth face risks for negative sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes; it is critical to provide these populations with health education that is both inclusive of and specific to their needs. We sought to characterize the strengths and weaknesses of SGM-related messages from web sites that address SRH for young people. We considered who is included, what topics are discussed, and how messages are framed. Methods: A systematic Google search and screening process was used to identify health promotion web sites with SRH content for adolescents and young adults. Using MAXQDA, we thematically coded and analyzed SGM content qualitatively. Results: Of 32 SRH web sites identified, 23 (71.9%) contained SGM content. Collectively, the sites included 318 unique SGM codes flagging this content. Approximately two-thirds of codes included messages that discussed SGM youth in aggregate (eg, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender)—specific content about the diverse subpopulations within this umbrella term (eg, transgender youth) was more limited. In addition to SRH topics, most web sites had messages that addressed a broad array of other health issues including violence, mental health, and substance use (n = 17, 73.9%) and SGM-specific topics, for example coming out (n = 21, 91.3%). The former were often risk-framed, yet affirmational messages were common. Most web sites (n = 16; 69.6%) presented information for SGM youth both in stand-alone sections and integrated into broader content. Yet, integrated information was slightly more common (56.6% of all codes) than stand-alone content. Conclusions: Challenges of developing SRH content related to SGM youth include: (1) aggregate terms, which may not represent the nuances of sexual orientation and gender, (2) balancing risk versus affirmational messages, and (3) balancing stand-alone versus integrated content. However, SGM-related content also offers an opportunity to address diverse topics that can help meet the needs of these populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-401
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • adolescents
  • age specific
  • health disparities
  • health messages
  • reproductive health
  • sexual and gender minorities
  • sexual health
  • specific populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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