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Study Defines Family Acceptance as Helping Teens

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Researchers say there’s a link between family acceptance of LGBT kids and a decreased risk of dangerous behavior in such children.

Led by Dr. Caitlin Ryan, the Family Acceptance Project found that positive familial attitudes towards gay youth during adolescence greatly helped against suicide, depression, and substance abuse. These children also reported having higher levels of self-esteem and social support.

But Dr. Ryan told OutQ News that LGBT kids living in a negative environment were almost NINE TIMES more likely to have attempted suicide than their peers.

Which is why Dr. Ryan says she and her team are working hard to reach out to families and show them how their behaviors may be putting their children at risk.

RYAN: I think the enviroment now is perhaps more aware and better able to receive the messages of hope and transformation that we’re able to give with this project.

The Project has been offering those messages in downloadable booklets and video documentaries on the project’s website.

DOCUMENTARY: “As I look back now, I’m not disappointed in my son at all, I’m proud of my son for who he is…I don’t have proof in any tangible way, but I know in my heart that we have made a difference in EJ’s life–that he’s not going to turn to drugs or alcohol, not that he won’t experiment, but that he’s not going to be another statistic.”

Although Dr. Ryan says the Project’s biggest challenge right now is fundraising, she says the it plans to develop the first family model of wellness, prevention and care for LGBT youth within the next couple of years.

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Written by Xorje Olivares

December 10, 2010 at 8:40 AM

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