Anti-homophobia policies in schools reduce alcohol abuse: UBC

Schools with anti-homophobia policies and clubs are safer schools, and safer schools mean students are less likely to abuse alcohol, regardless of their sexual orientation, researchers at the University of British Columbia have found.

VANCOUVER — Schools with anti-homophobia policies and clubs are safer schools, and safer schools mean students are less likely to abuse alcohol, regardless of their sexual orientation, researchers at the University of British Columbia have found.

Senior author Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc said the study also indicates parents and school districts need not be worried about the harmful effects of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer programs on straight students.

There are “some schools, some boards of trustees or even parents (that) are concerned about whether or not we should have these kinds of policies,” Saewyc said.

“I would think that the research that we’ve just done and the evidence it provides should help alleviate some of those concerns around whether or not this has an impact, or at least is linked to better outcomes for not just lesbian, gay and bisexual teens but also for teens in general.”

The study, published recently in the Journal of Preventative Medicine, showed students at schools with anti-homophobia policies and gay-straight alliances tended to abuse alcohol less, regardless of sexual orientation.

“Nobody’s actually proposed using gay-straight alliances as an anti-drug strategy, or to reduce problem substance use in schools,” Saewyc said.

But “this study suggest(s) that both the anti-homophobia policies and gay-straight alliances may be important tools to include in the tool-kit … that schools use to prevent problem drinking and other harms from alcohol and drug use.”

Anti-homophobia policies may include anti-bullying codes that specifically mention harassment based on sexual orientation. Gay-straight alliances tend to be student-led organizations that provide a supportive environment for LGBTQ youth and their straight allies.

The study looked at alliances and anti-homophobia policies at 280 B.C. high schools. Of those schools, 23 had long-established groups, while 37 had long-established anti-homophobia policies.

Researchers analysed data from nearly 22,000 high school students who participated in the 2008 B.C. Adolescent Health Survey, which asked questions about sexual orientation, drinking and marijuana use.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Boil water advisory issued for Red Deer’s Terrace Park area

A boil water advisory is in place for Red Deer’s Terrace Park… Continue reading

New post-secondary funding model in Alberta tied to performance measures

CALGARY — Alberta’s new funding model for post-secondary institutions ties some of… Continue reading

Armed Forces arrive in St. John’s as state of emergency stretches into fourth day

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A state of emergency is stretching into its… Continue reading

Growing natural-disaster response risks dulling Army’s fighting edge: Commander

OTTAWA — Canada’s top soldier is warning that as the Army gets… Continue reading

Trudeau to meet potential bridge-builder Pallister during cabinet retreat

WINNIPEG — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet today with the least… Continue reading

WATCH: Canadian kid shovelling snow video goes viral

Rory might just be Canada’s most popular toddler right now, thanks to… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Jan. 22 Downtown House Senior Center (5414 43 St.) in Red Deer… Continue reading

Putin may not be immortal, but he’s not going anywhere

Five years ago, somebody posted photographs on the internet showing a man… Continue reading

Oil and gas industry needs to do more to address climate change, IEA report says

CALGARY — A report by the International Energy Agency says the oil… Continue reading

Special Canada-China parliamentary committee to hold first meeting in Ottawa

OTTAWA — A new special parliamentary committee created to examine Canada’s fraught… Continue reading

Crowd of thousands clogs downtown Richmond to defend right to bear arms

RICHMOND, Va. — Tens of thousands of protesters, many decked out in… Continue reading

Poll suggests some don’t think Canada should send troops to stop genocide

OTTAWA — A new poll suggests there are some in this country… Continue reading

Former 1,500 specialist Elmore likely Tokyo-bound after breaking marathon mark

When Malindi Elmore reinvented herself as a marathon runner a year ago,… Continue reading

Canada’s Shapovalov upset by Fucsovics in first round of Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canada’s Denis Shapovalov lost a lengthy four-set match with… Continue reading

Most Read