Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Center for Public Policy

First Advisor

Dr. Robert D. Holsworth


This study is based on a content analysis of two primary sources: 1) literature published on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in professional journals for school providers (school counselors, nurses, psychologists and social workers) over more than a 30-year period; and 2) materials developed for school providers on LGBT youth by states with laws, regulations and professional policies related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity in schools. Fifteen professional journals were identified that serve as primary and secondary journals for school providers. A total of 41 articles were published in these journals on LGBT youth between 1937 and 2005. Journal articles were coded by the investigator and a second coder, with an inter-rater reliability rate of .97. Most articles focused on identity development, and a majority provided information on developing a supportive school environment for LGB youth. Few focused on issues of salience for contemporary generations of LGBT adolescents, such as resiliency and strength or positive youth development. Only one article focused on youth of color, one on lesbian youth and none on transgender youth. Less than one-third included HIV/AIDS, only 7% mentioned HIV counseling and testing, and 2% mentioned lesbians' risk for STDs. Nearly three-fourths of articles (71%) focused on interventions with LGB youth (few included transgender youth), including the need to promote a safe school environment. Few empirical articles (19.5%), a handful of training articles (7.3%) no theoretical and very few review articles (2.2%) were published during this period. Although nearly one-third of the states had adopted laws, regulations or professional standards to prohibit discrimination of students on the basis of sexual orientation (and 4 included gender identity), no states other than Massachusetts had developed training materials for school providers on LGBT youth. However, Massachusetts' materials were never used since their program was defunded in 2002. Several states made training on LGBT adolescents available to school providers through professional and community organizations. Coupled with limited and outdated content in professional journals, school providers lack access to current multidisciplinary research, theoretical literature and information reviews needed to inform their work with LGBT students and their families.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008