Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin sought to investigate the recent concern that, because some “jokester” respondents from Add Health Wave I reported same-sex attraction, there is a possibility that Add Health research on sexual minority health disparities has been inaccurate. These researchers utilized two different methods to pinpoint respondents who are of concern: one method identified respondents who provided inaccurate responses – referred to as “jokesters” – and one method identified those who tended to respond in a mischievous way. Responses for same-sex attracted youth were then compared to those of heterosexual youth, and a mischievous index score was created to see if any previously reported disparities could be explained by mischievous responding.
Results showed that same-sex attracted youth were not more likely to be “jokesters” than heterosexual youth and respondents who reported a change in sexual attraction over time were not more likely to be “jokesters” than respondents who reported stable sexual attraction over time. Researchers then replicated six previously reported disparities between heterosexual and sexual minority youth while controlling for mischievous responses. Results demonstrated that five health disparities remained between heterosexual and sexual minority youth: depressive symptoms, alcohol use, cocaine use, parental satisfaction, and school connectedness. Only one previously observed health disparity was absent after accounting for mischievous responses: suicidal ideation for males who reported attraction to both sexes. The authors conclude that their findings support previous studies’ conclusions that health disparities exist between heterosexual and sexual minority youth.
View the abstract of download the entire article from Archives of Sexual Behavior.
- Jessica N. Fish: Population Research Center, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin
- Stephen T. Russell: Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin