Date of Award

Summer 8-8-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Rothenberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Emily Graybill


INTRODUCTION: The 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) added sexual minority questions to both the national and high school survey for the first time. The YRBSS conducted at the national level asked questions about health-related behaviors with potential negative outcomes. The 2014 School Health Policies and Practices Survey (SHPPS) is a similar dataset from an educator perspective that provides insight into academic training and support systems in place for social services provided to LGBTQ youth.

AIM: To assess the responses of sexual minority youth compared to educator responses regarding current practices their respective school systems. Using state and district data, trends seen among LGBTQ students can provide a glimpse into the state of school-administered health services.

METHODS: The 2015 YRBSS National, State and District data was processed to isolate answers from sexual minority youth. These answers were collapsed to highlight particular Responses of Interest (ROI) with a focus on risk behaviors. The mental and social health services were reviewed by analyzing the 2014 SHPPS to determine if student needs were adequately addressed.

RESULTS: The comparison of both data sets showed bisexual females and questioning males had higher incidence of risk-taking behaviors. Educator responses showed schools did have programs in place for LGBTQ youth but overall many services were not specific to sexual minority needs.

DISCUSSION: Research has shown LGBTQ youth encounter poorer health outcomes as adults but more research is needed to demonstrate effective outreach that improves those outcomes while they can be reached.