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The dynamic association between same-sex contact and educational attainment

, : The dynamic association between same-sex contact and educational attainment. Advances in Life Course Research 18(2): 127-140

Previous studies have shown that sexual minorities and heterosexuals differ in the level of success in educational attainment. Because these studies treated sexual orientation as a static trait, they could not address how the dynamic aspect of sexual orientation impacts educational attainment. This study seeks to answer this question while focusing on sexual contact as an indicator of sexual orientation and highest educational degree obtained by young adulthood as an attainment outcome. Ordered logistic regression analysis was conducted using US data (the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health or "Add Health," Waves 1-4). Among women, those who report same-sex contact obtain lower educational degrees than those without such contact regardless of its timing and continuity. Among men, those who report their first same-sex contact in young adulthood obtain higher degrees than others. These associations are explained by self-exploratory attitudes, depressive symptoms, and academic performance and expectations. These results help understand how same-sex sexual development creates opportunities and constraints in the educational attainment process, thereby extending the existing attainment literature, which concentrates on implications of heterosexual development.


PMID: 24796264

DOI: 10.1016/j.alcr.2012.09.002

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