Proposition 8 and Homophobic Bullying in California

Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, Yishan Shen, Elizabeth A. Vandewater, Stephen T Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Bias-based bullying is associated with negative outcomes for youth, but its contextual predictors are largely unknown. Voter referenda that target lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups may be 1 contextual factor contributing to homophobic bullying. METHODS: Data come from 14 consecutive waves (2001-2014) of cross-sectional surveys of students participating in the California Healthy Kids Survey (N = 4 977 557). Student responses were aggregated to the school level (n = 5121). Using a quasi-experimental design, we compared rates of homophobic bullying before and after Proposition 8, a voter referendum that restricted marriage to heterosexuals in November 2008. RESULTS: Interrupted time series analyses confirmed that the academic year 2008-2009, during which Proposition 8 was passed, served as a turning point in homophobic bullying. The rate of homophobic bullying increased (blinear = 1.15; P < .001) and accelerated (bquadratic = 0.08; P < .001) in the period before Proposition 8. After Proposition 8, homophobic bullying gradually decreased (blinear = -0.28; P < .05). Specificity analyses showed that these trends were not observed among students who reported that they were bullied because of their race and/or ethnicity, religion, or gender but not because of their sexual orientation. Furthermore, the presence of a protective factor specific to school contexts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth (gay-straight alliances) was associated with a smaller increase in homophobic bullying pre-Proposition 8. CONCLUSIONS: This research provides some of the first empirical evidence that public campaigns that promote stigma may confer risk for bias-based bullying among youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPediatrics
Volume143
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

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Bullying
Transgender Persons
Students
Heterosexuality
Religion
Sexual Minorities
Marriage
Sexual Behavior
Research Design
Cross-Sectional Studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Cite this

Proposition 8 and Homophobic Bullying in California. / Hatzenbuehler, Mark L.; Shen, Yishan; Vandewater, Elizabeth A.; Russell, Stephen T.

In: Pediatrics, Vol. 143, No. 6, 01.06.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hatzenbuehler, Mark L. ; Shen, Yishan ; Vandewater, Elizabeth A. ; Russell, Stephen T. / Proposition 8 and Homophobic Bullying in California. In: Pediatrics. 2019 ; Vol. 143, No. 6.
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