Showing posts with label Study. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Study. Show all posts

March 21, 2020

The Dead Sea Scroll Fragments in The Museum of the Bible Found to be Fake

dead sea scroll
A team of workers at Art Fraud Insights, LLC, has found that all of the Dead Sea Scroll (DSS) fragments housed at the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. are fake. They have published their findings on their company website.  
The Dead Sea scrolls are a collection of scrolls found in the Qumran Caves near the shore of the Dead Sea. They were discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in 1946. Since that time, the scrolls have been identified as ancient Jewish manuscripts created over the last three centuries BCE and the first century CE. They are housed in the Shrine of the Book on the grounds of the Israel Museum.
Officials of the Museum of the Bible obtained 16 fragments of what were claimed to be additional DSS fragments sometime after 2002. Soon thereafter, other institutions that had obtained samples from the same collections found evidence that they were not authentic DSS fragments. That finding cast doubt on all of the others. But it was not until 2017 that the Museum of the Bible opened its doors, proudly showing off its collection of DSS fragments. The next year, some of them were tested by Germany's Federal Institute for Materials Research and were found to be fake, as well. That led the  to ask the team at Art Fraud Insights, LLC to examine all of their fragments.
After several months of work, the team presented their results, which the Museum of the Bible made public. They had found that the material makeup of the  did not match that of the original DSS fragments—they appeared to be ancient leather rather than parchment. More importantly, they had found that modern ink had been used to print words on the old material fragments—it had pooled on the old dried leather. The group also found evidence of clay  similar to that found in the Qumran Caves that had been applied after the inking had been done—evidence of an attempt to cover up the fake materials below. The final verdict: the fragments were not only fake, but had been created for the purpose of deception.
It is still not known who went to such great lengths to create the fake DSS fragments.

March 20, 2020

Study Suggests Males with an Older Brother or More are Likely to Be Born Gay

by Bob Yirka ,
A team of researchers from the University of Toronto, the Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the University of Lethbridge has found evidence showing that males with an older brother have a greater chance of being gay than males that do not. In their paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes their study of data from past research efforts and what the learned from it. 
Scientists are not currently able to explain homosexuality in either  or females, even as researchers continue to find the answer. In this new effort, the researchers were looking to find some commonalities between  and homosexuality. To that end, they analyzed data from 10 unrelated studies that included  for 5,400 men and also sibling information.
The researchers found that the men in the study who had an older  were 38 percent more likely to be gay than were those who did not have an older brother. They also found that the more older brothers a man had, the more likely he was to be gay—having three older brothers, for example, doubled a man's odds of being gay. But the same could not be said for females. The researchers were not able to find any pattern in siblings, male or female, that changed the odds for a woman being gay.
The researchers were not able to determine why birth order impacts the odds of male homosexuality, but suggest it is possible that the mother's immune response to having a male child has a later impact on male babies born thereafter. The , called "maternal immune hypothesis," suggests that when a woman carries and gives birth to a male baby, her body produces antibodies in response to certain male chemicals. The theory suggests that the antibodies produced remain in the woman's body and somehow make their way into the brains of future male babies. The theory has been proposed before by other researchers and has also been used to settle arguments surrounding the nature of homosexuality—specifically whether it is a matter of genetics or upbringing.

January 16, 2020

Very Small Wage Increase Could Have Prevented 13,800 Deaths in 6 years in Study

The world has been facing a suicide crisis over the past few years. In the United States alone, tens of thousands of people die by suicide each year. But new research shows that a $1 increase in the minimum wage might prevent thousands of deaths.  
As little as a $1 increase to the minimum wage could prevent thousands of people from attempting suicide, a new study suggests.
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, in 2017, the latest year for which data is available, "[s]uicide was the 10th leading cause of death overall in the United States," accounting for more than 47,000 deaths.
People can experience suicidal thoughts or be at risk of attempting suicide for a variety of reasons, including physical and mental illness, social isolation, substance abuse, and traumatic experiences.
For many people who consider suicide, the common point is a pervading feeling of hopelessness, often as a result of facing problems from which they can see no way out. One of these problems is, perhaps unsurprisingly, experiencing financial difficulties.
Recently, a team of researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, has sought to find out whether an increase in national minimum wages could make a real difference in terms of lowering the number of suicides per year.
The team's findings — featured in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health — point to an answer very much in the affirmative. A tiny increase of just $1 in the minimum wage could have saved thousands of lives lost to suicide over the past year. 
Just $1 could make a huge difference
The researchers started by considering the difference between the federal minimum hourly wage versus the state minimum hourly wage for all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., in conjunction with both unemployment and suicide rates among people aged 18–64 between 1990–2015.
During this period, the team notes, there were 478 amendments of the state minimum wage across all of the U.S. states. The researchers calculated that the average difference in minimum wage between state minimum wages and the federal minimum wage was $2,200 per year for a person working full time.
Moreover, while in 1990, as many as 36 of the U.S. states ratified minimum wages that were equal to the federal minimum wage, by 2015, only 21 states still offered this rate. 
When they looked at suicide rates, the investigators observed that between 1990–2015, 399,206 people who were either high school-educated or had lower levels of formal education had died by suicide.
By comparison, 140,176 people with a college degree or a higher level of formal education died by suicide during that same period.
Thus, the research team estimates there would have been a 3.5–6% drop in suicide rates for each $1 increase in the minimum wage — at least in the case of people with a high school or lower degree of formal education.
The same decrease did not appear to be likely in the case of individuals with at least a college degree.
State-level unemployment also seemed to affect suicide rates during this period, the study authors note. When state unemployment rates were high, at 6.5% or above, higher minimum wages showed a link to lower suicide rates.
Yet when unemployment rates were low, there was a weaker association between minimum wage values and suicide rates.
Following on from these findings, the researchers went on to estimate that in the 6 years after the great recession of 2009 — in which unemployment rates were at a historic high — as many as 13,800 suicides could have been prevented among people with a high-school or lower degree of formal education if only the state minimum wage had increased by $1.  
And adding $2 to the state minimum wage could well have prevented 25,900 deaths by suicide.
This evaluation means that between 1990–2015, a $1 increase could have prevented 27,550 suicides, and a $2 increase could have saved 57,350 lives.
Although this is an observational study that has only found an association, the researchers still emphasize that a tiny increase in a person's earnings could have an inestimable value in terms of their well-being.
In their study paper, the first author of which is John Kaufman, the researchers write:
"Our findings are consistent with the notion that policies designed to improve the livelihoods of individuals with less education, who are more likely to work at lower wages and at higher risk for adverse mental health outcomes, can reduce the suicide risk in this group."
"Our findings also suggest that the potential protective effects of a higher minimum wage are more important during times of high unemployment," the investigators go on to add.

Suicide prevention

  • If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

January 2, 2020

Cornell Analysis Finds Discrimination Impacts The Health of LGBTQ

Eromin Center executive director Anthony Silvestre, left, and clinical director Mary Cochran are pictured in the center’s office in Philadelphia in 1981.

In a review of thousands of peer-reviewed studies, the What We Know Project, an initiative of Cornell’s Center for the Study of Inequality, has found a strong link between anti-LGBT discrimination and harms to the health and well-being of LGBT people.

The results of the analysis, the largest-known literature review on the topic, indicate that 286 out of 300 studies, or 95%, found a link between anti-LGBT discrimination and LGBT health harms.

“The research we reviewed makes it crystal clear that discrimination has far-ranging effects on LGBT health,” said Nathaniel Frank, director of the What We Know Project, an online research portal that aggregates existing peer-reviewed LGBT research. “And those consequences are compounded for especially vulnerable populations such as people of color, youth and adolescents, and transgender Americans.”

The research team screened more than 11,000 titles and read more than 1,300 peer-reviewed studies in order to identify those that addressed the question, “What does the scholarly research say about the effects of discrimination on the health of LGBT people?” Among the key findings identified by the report:

Anti-LGBT discrimination increases the risks of poor mental and physical health for LGBT people, including depression, anxiety, suicidality, PTSD, substance use and cardiovascular disease.
Discrimination is linked to health harms even for those who are not directly exposed to it because the presence of discrimination, stigma, and prejudice creates a hostile social climate that taxes individuals’ coping resources and contributes to minority stress.

Minority stress – including internalized stigma, low self-esteem, expectations of rejection and fear of discrimination – helps explain the health disparities seen in LGBT populations.

Discrimination on the basis of intersecting identities such as gender, race or socioeconomic status can exacerbate the harms of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Protective factors against the harms of discrimination include community and family support; access to affirming health care and social services; and the establishment of positive social climates, inclusive practices, and anti-discrimination policies.

The report is relevant to debates currently unfolding nationally about whether to ban discrimination or, alternatively, allow a “license to discriminate” through religious exemptions from discrimination law, Frank said. The data also offer guidance on what policies and practices can help mitigate the consequences of anti-LGBT discrimination, prejudice, and stigma, he said.

“Sometimes research really humanizes a policy debate, and this is one of those times,” said Kellan Baker of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, co-lead of the study. “Whatever you think of what the law should say about anti-LGBT discrimination, this research makes indisputable that it inflicts great harm on the LGBT population, and gives policymakers and individuals tools to reduce those harms.”

Focusing on public policy debates around inequality, the What We Know Project connects scholarship, public policy, and new media technology.

“The goal is to bring together in one place scholarly evidence that informs LGBT debates, so that policymakers, journalists, researchers, and the public can make truly informed decisions about what policies best serve the public interest,” Frank said. “We don’t call ‘balls and strikes’ in our analysis, but simply describe what conclusions the studies reach so visitors may evaluate the research themselves.”

The full research analysis and methodology can be viewed on the project website.

August 14, 2019

Study}} Evangelicals and People with Crosses Are Killing Us in South America

{{BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) }} 
Four LGBT+ people are murdered every day in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to “alarming” new research released on Thursday by a regional network of gay rights groups. 
At least 1,300 LGBT+ people have been murdered in the region in the past five years, with Colombia, Mexico and Honduras accounting for nearly 90 percent of all deaths, according to data collected by the network of 10 groups. 
“At the bottom of these violent deaths of LGBT people is exclusion, and sometimes total exclusion,” said Marcela Sanchez, head of Colombia Diversa, a Bogota-based LGBT+ rights group that is part of the network. 
“Many of these deaths do not matter to anyone, not even to their own families,” Sanchez told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. 
The Regional Information Network on Violence against LGBTI People in Latin America and the Caribbean said it was the first time data had been gathered in nine countries across the region to show the scale of the problem. 
The research aimed to draw government attention to the violence as well as raising awareness, Sanchez said. 
Data showed the majority of victims were young gay men aged 18 to 25, who were most likely to be murdered in their homes, followed by transgender women killed in the street. 
In Colombia’s capital Bogota, criminal gangs have targeted gay men, believing them to be wealthier than heterosexual men because they do not have children, the report said. Nearly 12% of all killings were carried out by people known to their victims.  
         Carrera 7, Centro Internacional de Bogotá D.C.      A Killer! Nice church and collects so much money as you can see by how nice it is in a poor country...because they fight the "Homosexuals" If there were no homosexuals they would find another demon to make's always been that way.
 The countries in the study have high overall levels of crime and gang-related drug violence. Murder rates in Mexico, Colombia and Honduras are at least three times the global average of 6.1 per 100,000 people, according to the United Nations. 
LGBT+ people who have been murdered often had a history of abuse and discrimination in and outside of the home, Sanchez said. 
Parts of South America have made progress on LGBT+ rights in the past decade, the report said, including laws allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. 
But despite legal protections, violence against the LGBT+ community remains rife, it said, calling it a “cultural problem”.  The growing influence of evangelical Christian groups in recent years, particularly in Central America, have stymied efforts to change attitudes to LGBT+ rights, Sanchez said. 
Most evangelical groups are critical of gay rights and believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman. 
“It’s important to take into account the rise or hardening of fundamentalist, religious discourse,” Sanchez said. 
Reporting by Anastasia Moloney @anastasiabogota, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit

August 6, 2019

New Study Shows LGBT Cancer Survivors Receive Less Follow Up Care and Screening

                                      Image result for lgbt cancer survivors

New research shows the difficulties many LGBT people face, even after they beat cancer.

A study of more than 70,000 cancer survivors conducted by Boston University researchers shows that LGBT cancer survivors receive less access to follow-up care for preventing and detecting recurrences, and screening for long-term effects of cancer treatments than their heterosexual counterparts.
That can lead such sexual minorities, especially LGBT women, to suffer from poorer mental and physical health post-cancer in a country where there could be more than 1 million LGBT cancer survivors in need of care.

"There is a silent epidemic," says study author Uli Boehmer, an associate professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health.

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The research adds to evidence suggesting the LGBT community faces discrimination and insensitivity in health care.

Boehmer notes that LGBT people, especially women, are more likely to have jobs that do not provide health insurance and also struggle more often to afford co-payments for follow-up visits.

Furthermore, the study highlights a significant lack of data collection about LGBT cancer survivors' experiences with medical care, suggesting doctors don't yet know the extent of the problem.

Boehmer, who has studied cancer in the LGBT community for more than 30 years, says the fight to bridge the knowledge gap remains frustrating.

"We don't even have data yet on the types of treatments they get or if they're being treated according to guidelines or not," says Boehmer. "We need to chip away at this big black hole where we know very little about what's going on."

August 2, 2019

Study Finds LGBT People More Likely to Have Memory Problems


LGBT Americans report increased rates of memory loss and confusion — two early signs of dementia — compared to their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts, a large survey has found. The observations present new risk factors to consider for Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, and raise questions about the potential influence of social stressors.
“This idea that LGBT people might have more … subjective cognitive impairment is a very interesting one,” said Yaakov Stern, a professor of neuropsychology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Stern was not involved in the research but said colleagues undertaking a small pilot study of cognition in the LGBT community around the New York area have “very similar findings.”
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, based their analysis on 2015 data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention across nine states in a random phone survey. The survey included questions about memory loss and confusion in the past 12 months and gender identity and sexual orientation. Responses from 44,403 adults age 45 or older were included in the analysis, with 3% identifying as LGBT and the remainder saying they were heterosexual and cisgender, or people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. One in seven, or 14%, of people in sexual and gender minorities reported memory problems that got worse over the past year. This contrasts with 1 in 10, or 10%, of heterosexual and cisgender people reporting the same problems. After adjusting for characteristics such as age, gender, race and ethnicity, marital status, and income, the researchers found that LGBT individuals were 29% more likely to report cognitive impairment compared to their counterparts. The observations are being presented Sunday at the 2019 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles. Jason Flatt, an assistant professor at UCSF and lead author of the study, also noted the LGBT individuals had more problems with daily activities, such as cooking and cleaning, compared to heterosexual and cisgender individuals.
Previous studies have found a correlation between self-reported cognitive impairment and dementia. People with subjective cognitive decline are three times more likely to have future cognitive decline, Flatt said.
Dr. Victor Henderson, a professor of health policy and of neurology at Stanford University, cautioned that the age group the researchers were looking at included relatively young individuals. Dementia is rare below age 60.
“Subjective cognitive decline in the younger population may not have the same meaning as it would for someone who was in his or her 70s or 80s or 90s,” he said. Henderson was not involved in the study. “I think it’s an important observation that’s been made, but the actual interpretation in relation to an impending dementia remains to be determined.” Exactly why there might be a higher risk of memory loss and confusion among LGBT people is unclear. It could be due to challenges such as depression or stress in social situations, according to Stern and Henderson. Flatt noted that as LGBT individuals get older, they are less likely to have strong social support networks, such as a partner or children, and may end up living where people might not accept who they are.
The survey results don’t mean LGBT people will necessarily have higher incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, Flatt noted, but instead, they show a concerning trend that needs additional attention.
“The community really needs greater support, education, screening for their memory, and opportunity to talk to their doctor about these problems,” said Flatt. Additional research is also needed, and he advocated for the inclusion of questions asking about sexual orientation and gender identity in national surveys. Otherwise, “how are we going to see how the community does over time?” he asked.
LGBT people are underrepresented in research on cognitive impairment, said Erin Dunn, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the study. “I think it’s a critical question that should be addressed.”

March 4, 2019

Study Shows or Highlights Differences in Suicides Between Gay and Straights

 By Tim Fitzsimons

While research has determined that gays and lesbians are among the U.S. subgroups at an increased risk of suicidal behavior, a new study shines a spotlight on the ways in which suicide among sexual minorities differs from that of their heterosexual counterparts.
The study, published late last month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is thought to be the first to use a large body of government data to examine suicides of gay males and lesbians. In order to compare suicides among sexual minorities to those of the broader population, the study analyzed more than 120,000 suicide deaths of those 15 and older across 18 states from 2003 to 2014.
"The current analysis," the report states, "revealed several differences by age, mechanism of injury, and precipitating circumstances." These differences among sexual minorities, the study continued, "underscore the need for prevention strategies for this population." 
Compared to heterosexuals, the report found gay men who killed themselves were likelier to have had a diagnosed mental health condition, a history of suicidal thoughts or plans, an argument before death and a crisis around the time of death. Like gay men, lesbians were also likelier than heterosexuals to have had a diagnosed mental health condition prior to suicide and were likelier to have tried to signal their desire to attempt suicide before doing so.
The study also compared the "most commonly used mechanism of injury” for straight and gay people who took their own lives. Straight men were the likeliest to use firearms, while straight women were likeliest to use poison. For gay men, the likeliest method of suicide was “hanging/strangulation/suffocation" (38 percent); for lesbians it was “hanging/strangulation/suffocation” (36 percent) and firearms (35 percent).
Noting that when compared to straight youth, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide, the study suggests “a need to conduct suicide prevention activities across age groups, including youth.”
Another significant finding is that lesbian and gay people are likelier than straight people to have reported a “depressed mood” or “intimate partner problems and arguments” before dying by suicide. The authors suggest “these differences may be linked in part to the minority stress and discrimination that lesbian and gay male populations experience.” The study notes that one of the barriers that stands between sexual minorities and effective mental health care is that “some mental health providers may lack knowledge and awareness of issues (i.e., stigma and homophobia) that may be pertinent to many gender and sexual minority patients.”
In the report's conclusion, the authors suggest their findings can be used for suicide prevention efforts targeting sexual minorities.
"Suicide prevention programs developed or tailored for LGBT individuals can consider the risk factors that are most salient to the targeted population and how these factors may differ from non-LGBT individuals," the study states.
If you are in crisis, feeling suicidal or in need of a safe place to talk, call the 24/7 TrevorLifeline,1-866-488-7386, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

NBC News

November 16, 2018

Study Shows Gay Conversion Therapy is Associated with Suicide

Jack Turban MD MHS

When I went to see the new film Boy Erased this week, half the audience was in tears. The movie depicts the devastating practice of gay conversion therapy, in which therapists or religious professionals try to “cure” young people of their homosexuality. At the end of the movie appears the statistic that 700,000 LGBT Americans have been exposed to conversion therapy — an estimate that includes both conversion therapy for gender identity and sexual orientation.
Psychiatry has a dark history when it comes to supporting LGBT people — or rather, not supporting them. Homosexuality was described as a mental illness for decades until it was dropped from the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1987. Since then, the field has evolved in its stance toward homosexuality. Conversion therapy for sexual orientation is now considered unethical by both The American Psychiatric Associationand The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
What most people don’t realize, is that whether or not sexual orientation conversion therapy for adolescents is harmful was never properly studied. Most argue it doesn’t need to be. Based on expert consensus, literature from the harms of conversion therapy on adults, and inference, nearly every major medical organization labeled sexual orientation conversion therapy unethical.
new study published this month in the Journal of Homosexuality finally provides some concrete evidence, however, that sexual orientation conversion therapy during adolescence is associated with poor mental health outcomes.
The study recruited 245 LGBT people between the ages of 21 and 25. Participants were asked two questions about sexual orientation conversion therapy:
(1) Between ages 13 and 19, how often did any of your parents/caregivers try to change your sexual orientation (i.e., to make you straight)?
(2) Between ages 13 and 19, how often did any of your parents/caregivers take you to a therapist or religious leader to cure, treat, or change your sexual orientation?
They also had participants complete a number of mental health measures. Those whose parents tried to change their sexual orientation had three-fold higher odds of having ever attempted suicide (aOR 3.08, 95 percent CI 1.39-6.83). Those whose parents enlisted the help of a professional (therapist or religious leader) to change their sexual orientation had a five-fold higher odds of having ever attempted suicide (aOR 5.07, 95 percent CI 2.38-10.79).
Overall, the field of psychiatry continues to condemn efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation. We now have additional data to show that such efforts are dangerous. As I’ve written before, several states have begun to outlaw the practice. I hope this new data will help propel lawmakers in other states to do the same. 
The study has some limitations, which are further described in the manuscript. Notably, the authors recruited only people to identified as LGBT at the time of the study. The study would not have included people who identified as LGB during adolescence but not that the time of the study. Regardless, however, the study shows that there is a sizable number of people exposed to sexual orientation conversion therapy who then suffer poor mental health outcomes and that these mental health outcomes are worse than LGB young adults who are not exposed to conversion efforts.
Ryan, C., Toomey, R. B., Diaz, R. M., & Russell, S. T. (2018). Parent-Initiated Sexual Orientation Change Efforts With LGBT Adolescents: Implications for Young Adult Mental Health and Adjustment. Journal of homosexuality, 1-15.

September 17, 2018

New Findings from SDSU on Gay and Transgender Identities Finds They Begin As Early as 9 and 10

By La Monica Everett-Haynes

As early as ages 9 and 10, about one percent of children self-identify as potentially gay, bisexual or transgender, according to a national study of the sexual orientation and gender identity development of thousands of youth across the nation. 

With the majority of previous studies indicating that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) self-identification generally occurs during the mid-adolescent years, the report by San Diego State University  researchers Jerel P. Calzo and Aaron J. Blashill is providing new insights into early identity development.

“This is such an important stage, biologically and socially,” said Calzo, an associate professor in SDSU’s School of Public Health and lead author of the study. “At 9 and 10, youth—whether through their peers, media or parents—are beginning to be exposed to more information about relationships and interacting in the world. They may not see any of this as sexual, but they are beginning to experience strong feelings.”

The team’s findings were derived from datasets of computer-assisted interviews with more than 4,500 9- and 10-year-old children for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States. Protocols for the overall ABCD study were approved by the institutional review board at the University of California, San Diego, one of 21 institutions recruiting families for the study, and home for its data collection hub. All interviews were conducted with the consent of the parents. 

The findings were published in the current issue of JAMA Pediatrics.

Calzo and Blashill utilized 2016-17 data collected from the ABCD Study dataset. The study asked children, “Are you gay or bisexual?” In response, 0.2 percent said “yes” and 0.7 percent said “maybe.” About 75 percent said "no," and 23.7 percent said they didn’t understand the question.

To the question, “Are you transgender?” 0.1 percent said “yes” and 0.4 percent said “maybe.” Some 38 percent said they didn’t understand the question; the rest responded “no.”

“One percent is sizable, given that they are so young,” said Blashill, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology. 

“For so long, social scientists have assumed that there is no point in asking kids at this age about their sexual orientation, believing they do not have the cognitive ability to understand,” he said. “This is the first study to actually ask children about their sexual orientation this young. It is important to have a baseline to understand how sexuality develops and how it may change over time.” 

Blashill and Calzo also investigated identity-related stress and how parents perceived their children’s sexual and gender identities. 

More than 13 percent of parents, when asked about the sexual identity of their children, reported their child might be gay and 1.2 percent reported that their child might be transgender, the team found. 

Another finding was that the 9- and 10-year-olds in the study who identified as gay, bisexual or transgender overwhelmingly reported no problems at home or school related to their minority sexual orientation or gender identity, while 7 percent of parents reported gender identity-based problems. 

As sexual and gender minorities experience higher rates of physical and mental health issues than do their heterosexual counterparts, the research may provide crucial insights into resiliency development within the LGBT community. It could also help lead to improved programs and policies to better serve the community, Calzo said.

“If we can understand identity development earlier and can track development using large datasets, we can begin improving research and prevention around risk and protective factors,” Calzo said, adding that he and Blashill purposefully set out to study sexual identity issues among youth at earlier ages than previous research. 

Another key finding is that researchers must identify better ways to explore identity issues among younger populations, as 23.7 percent of those surveyed indicated they did not understand questions about sexual orientation. This will be crucial as researchers seek to explore other issues, such as same-gender attraction and gender expression, in young children. 

“ABCD does plan to include more measures, and other researchers are studying sexual orientation and gender expression,” said Calzo. “We know from other studies that these identities can change over time. This research helps us to understand sexual and gender identity younger, so that we can have a much better understanding of these identities over time.”

The project is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


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