School Psychology Forum

School Belonging, School Victimization, and the Mental Health of LGBT Young Adults: Implications for School Psychologists

Nicholas C. Heck, Lauri M. Lindquist, Greg R. Machek, & Bryan N. Cochran

pp. 28-37

School Psychologists as Allies and Advocates for the LGBTQ Community

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ABSTRACT: This study investigates the mediating role of school victimization in the relationship between lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) young adults' feelings of high school belonging and current mental health (both depression and general psychological distress) outcomes. A total of 145 LGBT young adults were recruited from college LGBT student organizations to complete an online survey that assessed high school experiences and mental health outcomes. Bootstrapping analyses were used to test for mediation. Results indicate that school victimization mediates the relationship between high school belonging and depressive symptoms and feelings of general psychological distress in young adulthood. The results suggest that school victimization is a factor that could explain why LGBT youth report lower levels of school belonging and higher levels of depression and psychological distress, relative to heterosexual youth. Implications as they relate to school psychologists are discussed and recommendations for improving the school climate for LGBT youth are provided.