Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


The present study explored how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth seek and gain support from adults in high school. A convenient snowball sample of forty-four LGBTQQ youth was gathered through email. The email contained a link to a questionnaire designed based on previous research and administered through Survey Monkey. Participants were required to meet three inclusion criteria: be between the ages of 18-27, 'out' as a member of the LGBTQQ community for a minimum of 1 year in high school, sought support from an adult in high school on an issue related to sexual orientation. The sample (participants and adults) was predominantly White and gender conforming (male and female). Identified adults were also evenly split between being perceived as Heterosexual versus LGBTQ. The study provides further evidence of the efficacy of support. The more helpful an adult was rated the higher the improvement in self-esteem, depression, isolation and hopelessness. The study demonstrated that gender and sexual orientation had an influence in regards to help seeking, however, did not reflect the quality of support received. There were differences in the types of support provided by LGBTQQ versus Heterosexual adults and social mirroring occurred through both sexual identity, as well as process variables such as being open, accessible, empathic, and a visible support to the LGBTQQ community. The study reinforces the importance of having LGBTQQ adults in high school and more largely communicates that all adults can be helpful in the lives of LGBTQQ youth.


Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2008. v, 86 p. Includes bibliographical references (p. 65-69)