Sexual orientation disparities in developmental assets among youth: The mediating role of bullying victimization

Randolph Chun Ho CHAN, Marcus Shengkai LAM

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Background: Navigating the developmental transition from adolescence to young adulthood while simultaneously integrating the emergence of a sexual minority identity can be overwhelming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning youth as the developmental tasks pose tremendous challenges to the cultivation of developmental assets, which are the building blocks necessary for fostering positive youth development and thriving.

Objectives: The present study aimed to estimate the sexual orientation disparities in bullying victimization and developmental assets, investigate whether these sexual orientation differences varied by sex assigned at birth, and examine the mediating role of bullying victimization in the association between sexual orientation and developmental assets.

Methods: This study included a national sample of 3020 Chinese youth (51.5 % assigned male at birth; 48.5 % assigned female at birth) with a mean age of 15.71 years. They completed a self-report questionnaire on experiences of bullying victimization and developmental assets.

Results: Sexual minority and questioning youth showed significantly lower levels of developmental assets than heterosexual youth. The sexual orientation differences in developmental assets did not significantly differ by sex assigned at birth. In addition, sexual minority youth were at heightened risk of relational bullying than heterosexual youth. The results obtained from the structural equation modeling indicated that bullying victimization mediated the association of sexual orientation with developmental assets. Compared to heterosexual youth, sexual minority youth were more likely to be subjected to bullying, which was linked to lower levels of developmental assets.

Conclusions: The study shows sexual orientation disparities in developmental assets among youth in China and reveals that the positive development of sexual minority youth may be hindered by their experiences of bullying victimization. The implications for positive psychological interventions and anti-bullying policies in Chinese educational settings are discussed. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106254
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Early online dateJun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


Chan, R. C. H., & Lam, M. S. (2023). Sexual orientation disparities in developmental assets among youth: The mediating role of bullying victimization. Child Abuse & Neglect, 143, Article 106254.


  • Developmental assets
  • Adolescence
  • Sexual minorities
  • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual
  • Bullying victimization


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