ABSTRACT. This study investigates whether Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) young adults are more at risk of bullying than their heterosexual peers using Next Steps, a nationally representative longitudinal dataset from England. The experiences of more than 7,200 young adults from across England who were born in 1989–90 are examined. At age 20, the young adults were asked about their sexual identity and whether they had been bullied in the previous 12 months and during secondary school. The findings show that young LGB adults had a 52 per cent chance of having been bullied in the past year at age 20, compared to a 38 per cent chance for their heterosexual peers, after taking into account other characteristics that may make someone more likely to be targeted, such as gender, ethnicity, disability, or family socioeconomic background. The situation had improved slightly since their school years. Between the ages of 14 and 16, young people who later went on to identify as LGB had a 56 per cent chance of having been bullied in the past year, compared to a 45 per cent chance for their heterosexual peers. Moreover LGB young people were at considerably greater risk of being bullied frequently – that is, once or more every fortnight – during secondary school. LGB young people were found to be more than twice as likely as their heterosexual classmates to be regularly physically bullied and excluded from social groups. This paper also examines the association between being bullied and life satisfaction: the findings show that by the time they reached age 20, young LGB adults were less likely than their heterosexual peers to report being “very satisfied” with how their lives had turned out so far. However, all young adults – regardless of sexual identity – were less likely to be very satisfied with their lives if they had been bullied. In summary, although all people are less likely to be bullied as they get older, young LGB adults remain at higher risk than their peers. These findings suggest that in order to tackle the problem, anti-bullying interventions cannot be focused only at schools and their pupils. Policymakers, employers, further education institutions and others working with young adults need to do just as much in order to challenge discrimination at all ages. pp. 220–240

Keywords: bully-victimization; England; lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB); Next Steps; sexual minority

How to cite: Henderson, Morag (2016), “Bullying Experiences among Sexual Minority Youths in England: The Nature, Prevalence and Association with Life Satisfaction,” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 6(1): 220–240.

Received 25 January 2016 • Received in revised form 26 February 2016
Accepted 27 February 2016 • Available online 15 March 2016


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