Objectives: We compared sexual-minority adolescents living in rural communities with their peers in urban areas in British Columbia, exploring differences in emotional health, victimization experiences, sexual behaviors, and substance use.
Methods: We analyzed a population-based sample of self-identified lesbian, gay, or bisexual respondents from the British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey of 2003 (weighted n = 6905). We tested rural–urban differences separately by gender with the χ2 test and logistic regressions.
Results: We found many similarities and several differences. Rural sexual-minority adolescent boys were more likely than were their urban peers to report suicidal behaviors and pregnancy involvement. Rural sexual-minority adolescents, especially girls, were more likely to report various types of substance use. Rural status was associated with a lower risk of dating violence and higher risk of early sexual debut for sexual-minority girls and a higher risk of dating violence and lower risk of early sexual debut for sexual-minority boys.
Conclusions. Location should be a demographic consideration in monitoring the health of sexual-minority adolescents. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents in rural communities may need additional support and services as they navigate adolescence.
Poon C & Saewyc E. (2009). ‘Out’ yonder: Sexual minority youth in rural and small town areas of British Columbia. American Journal of Public Health, 99 (1), 118-124. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.122945