UBC Faculty Research and Publications

A Media-Based School Intervention to Reduce Sexual Orientation Prejudice and Its Relationship to Discrimination, Bullying, and the Mental Health of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adolescents in Western Canada: A Population-Based Evaluation Burk, Jillian; Park, Minjeong; Saewyc, Elizabeth Marie


School interventions to address sexual orientation discrimination can be important tools for fostering inclusive school climate, and improving student wellbeing. In this study, we empirically evaluated a film-based intervention, Out in Schools, designed to reduce sexual orientation prejudice and foster inclusive school attitudes. Our evaluation mapped data about Out in Schools presentations onto student data from the random cluster-stratified, province-wide 2013 British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey (BCAHS) as well as potential confounding variables of Gay-Straight Alliance clubs (GSAs) and inclusive school policies. Outcome measures included past year sexual orientation discrimination, bullying, suicidal ideation, and school connectedness among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) and heterosexual (HET) students in grades 8 through 12 (ages 13 to 18; unweighted N = 21,075, weighted/scaled N = 184,821). Analyses used complex samples logistic regression, adjusted for sample design, conducted separately by gender and orientation. We found Out in Schools presentations were associated with reduced odds of LGB students experiencing discrimination, and both LGB and HET girl students being bullied or considering suicide, and increased levels of school connectedness, even after controlling for GSAs and policies. Out in Schools appears to have an additive contribution to reducing orientation prejudice and improving LGB and heterosexual student wellbeing within schools.

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