Conference Publication Details
Mandatory Fields
Költő. A; Nic Gabhainn, S
32nd Conference of the European Health Psychology Society : Health Psychology Across The Lifespan: Uniting Research, Practice and Policy
Romantic attraction and psychosomatic symptoms in adolescents from eight European countries
Optional Fields
Background: Adolescents attracted to same- (SGA) or both-gender partners (BGA) are more vulnerable to various health risks then their opposite-gender (OGA) or not attracted (NA) peers. According to the minority stress hypothesis, this health inequality may be attributed to the exposure of SGA and BGA adolescents to rejection and discrimination, which negatively effects their hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis regulating stress response. This study compared the frequency of 15-year-old adolescents’ psychological and somatic symptoms, and their risk of having multiple health complaints, across self-reported gender-related romantic attraction. Methods: Adolescents from eight European countries that participated in the 2013/2014 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) cross-national study (N = 14,206) were asked whether they have been in love with opposite-, same-, both-gender partners, or have not experienced love. Their health status was assessed using a 8-item psychosomatic symptoms checklist. Findings: Both SGA and BGA adolescents were found to have higher scores on the symptom checklist than OGA or NA youths (F(3) = 106.24, p < .001). They also had higher risk for multiple health complaints than OGA peers (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.130 for SGA and 1.441 for BGA), while NA youth had significantly lower risk (AOR = 0.792). These results were consistent across countries. Discussion: These findings demonstrate that same-and both-gender attracted adolescents are at higher risk of frequent psychosomatic health complaints than their opposite-gender attracted or not attracted peers. Our results indirectly support the minority stress hypothesis, and underpin the importance of addressing sexual minority adolescents’ mental and somatic health problems.
Grant Details
Publication Themes
Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy