Interpersonal protective factors for LGBTQ+ youth at multiple intersecting social identities and positions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Annals of LGBTQ public and population health








CHAID; LGBTQ+; adolescents; intersectionality; protective factors; social support


Interpersonal supports are protective against multiple negative health outcomes for youth such as emotional distress and substance use. However, finding interpersonal support may be difficult for youth exposed to intersecting racism, heterosexism, and cisgenderism, who may feel they are "outsiders within" their multiple communities. This study explores disparities in interpersonal supports for youth at different sociodemographic intersections. The 2019 Minnesota Student Survey includes data from 80,456 high school students, including measures of four interpersonal supports: feeling cared about by parents, other adult relatives, friends, and community adults. Exhaustive Chi-square Automatic Interaction Detection analysis was used to examine all interactions among four social identities/positions (racialized/ethnic identity, sexual identity, gender identity, sex assigned at birth) to identify groups who report different rates of caring from each source (Bonferroni adjusted p<.05). In the overall sample, 69.24% perceived the highest level of caring ("very much") from parents, 50.09% from other adult relatives, 39.94% from friends, and 15.03% from community adults. Models identified considerable differences in each source of support. For example, more than 72% of straight, cisgender youth reported their parents cared about them very much, but youth who identified as LGBQ and TGD or gender-questioning were much less likely to report high parent caring (less than 36%) across multiple racialized/ethnic identities and regardless of sex assigned at birth. Findings highlight the importance of better understanding the ways interpersonal support might differ across groups, and underscore a need for intersectionality-tailored interventions to develop protective interpersonal supports for LGBTQ+ youth, rather than one-size-fits-all approaches.


Prevention and Community Health