Study: GSAs Produce Healthier People

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com November 15 2011 2:45 PM ET

A new study shows just how important gay-straight alliances are in middle and high schools, and the positive long-term effects they engender in participants.

The study was conducted by the Family Acceptance Project, which asked about the school-related experiences of 245 LGBT young adults, aged 21 to 25. The findings show that LGBT kids who participate in GSAs "have better mental health as young adults, are less likely to drop out of high school, and more likely to attend college," according to a release.

The study shows the benefits of GSAs diminish as victimization of LGBT students at school increases — in other words, GSAs aren't enough to fully counteract harassment, bullying, and violence; additional resources are required.

"This new study on the benefits of GSAs to health and education adds to our growing understanding of the importance of social environments and the need to provide institutional support for LGBT youth to promote well-being in adulthood," Caitlin Ryan, coauthor of the study and Family Acceptance Project director, said in a press release. Read more about GSAs here.