Educational Attainment by Life Course Sexual Attraction: Prevalence and Correlates in a Nationally Representative Sample of Young Adults

Katrina M. Walsemann, University of South Carolina
Lisa Lindley, George Mason University
Danielle Gentile, University of South Carolina
Shehan Welihindha, University of South Carolina

Researchers know relatively little about the educational attainment of sexual minorities, despite the fact that educational attainment is consistently associated with a range of social, economic, and health outcomes. We examined whether sexual attraction in adolescence and early adulthood was associated with educational attainment. We analyzed Waves I and IV restricted data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n=14,111). Sexual orientation was assessed using self-reports of romantic attraction in Waves I (adolescence) and IV (adulthood). Women attracted to women in adulthood only had lower educational attainment compared to women attracted only to men in adolescence and adulthood. Men attracted to men in adolescence only had lower educational attainment compared to men attracted only to women in adolescence and adulthood. Adolescent experiences and academic performance attenuated educational disparities among men, but not among women. Our findings challenge previous research documenting higher educational attainment among sexual minorities in the US.

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Presented in Poster Session 7