Polyamorous youth experience stigma and higher depressive symptoms

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While progressively visible among adults, polyamory besides exists among adolescents, and arsenic a caller study indicates, truthful does nan stigma that tin travel pinch it.

A Washington State University study of 323 younker ages 12 to 17 astatine an LGBTQ+ summertime campy recovered that 54, aliases astir 16.7%, identified arsenic polyamorous aliases ambiamorous, meaning they were unfastened to either monogamous aliases polyamorous relationships. These "poly" and "ambi" younker reported higher levels of depressive symptoms than their LGBTQ+ peers.

The study, 1 of nan first to analyse polyamorous relationships successful youth, was published successful nan diary Psychology & Sexuality.

It was notable that galore of nan polyamorous teens said they wouldn't consciousness safe being retired successful their location communities. They felt for illustration they would beryllium misunderstood aliases that group person stereotypes aliases judgments astir what it intends for them to beryllium poly, for illustration that they are promiscuous aliases don't comprehend cheating arsenic a problem."

Traci Gillig, WSU researcher, study author 

Polyamory is simply a narration building that involves having much than 1 romanticist partner astatine nan aforesaid clip pinch nan consent and knowledge of each nan partners, truthful arsenic pinch monogamous relationships, nan secrecy of cheating is considered a breach of trust. Again akin to monogamy, polyamory is chiefly astir relationships and does not needfully person to impact activity astatine all.

This study was constricted to a campy for LGBTQ+ younker called Brave Trails, which apt indicates nan adolescents came from much accepting families, Gillig noted. However, 30 adolescents still reported they either would not consciousness safe, aliases felt unsure if they would beryllium safe, if they were unfastened astir being poly successful their location communities.

Gillig said it was encouraging that galore besides felt they would beryllium supported, and 16 of nan 54 poly aliases ambi campers said they were unfastened astir it astatine home.

Adult polyamory has been gaining attraction successful nan news media and connected TV pinch shows that characteristic poly group connected Netflix and Showtime. It has besides been nan taxable of research, which has recovered that much than 20% of adults person engaged successful consensually non-monogamous relationships for illustration polyamory. Another study besides recovered that immoderate poly adults began to understand their personality arsenic poly erstwhile they were adolescents.

For this study, participants filled retired questionnaires earlier and astatine nan extremity of nan camp, which included assessments of worry and depressive symptoms. They besides answered questions astir their preferred narration building and really comfortable they felt being unfastened pinch others astir it.

The study allowed campers to constitute successful explanations, and immoderate who felt little safe said that being poly was "a touchy subject" and that moreover those who judge their LGBTQ+ personality would not beryllium okay pinch it.

The poly and ambi kids arsenic good arsenic each nan adolescents successful nan study showed improved intelligence wellness aft experiencing nan accepting situation of nan LGBTQ+ camp, and Gillig emphasized that support is cardinal for young group who person a marginalized identity.

"Youths' acquisition pinch being polyamorous aliases ambiamorous is akin to being LGBTQ+ successful that if they comprehend that they won't beryllium supported, past they're not arsenic apt to disclose their personality astatine home. We cognize from investigation pinch queer younker that this tin origin elevated levels of depressive symptoms," she said. "My dream is that parents would person an unfastened mind, if their kid comes to them and expresses that they place arsenic polyamorous aliases if they person questions astir it."


Journal reference:

Gillig, T. K., et al. (2024) Polyamorous and ambiamorous adolescents: a first empirical look astatine intelligence wellness successful an LGBTQ+ sample. Psychology & Sexuality. doi.org/10.1080/19419899.2024.2340985.