Gay and bisexual high school students are more likely than their heterosexual classmates to smoke, drink alcohol or do other risky things, according to a CDC study released today. Investigators asked about dozens of risky behaviors, ranging from not wearing a bicycle helmet to drug use and suicide attempts. Based on anonymous surveys of 156,000 high school students, gay, lesbian, and bisexual students reported worse behavior in half to 90% of the risk categories.
Why? CDC officials don't know for sure, but said that gay, lesbian and bisexual students are likely to deal with stigma, disapproval, and social rejection. "Many risky behaviors are related to how people feel about themselves and the environment they're in," noted the study's lead author.