Correlates of Perceived School Safety Among Black Adolescents in Chicago: Are There Sexual Orientation Differences?

Jun Sung Hong, Jeoung Min Lee, Matthew M. Rivas-Koehl, Sheretta Butler-Barnes, Ellen W. de Lara, Dexter R. Voisin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study aims to explore whether the protective factors identified in the research literature for Black sexual minority adolescents in urban neighborhoods are similar to those of their heterosexual peers. Participants for the study consisted of 638 Black adolescents, aged 12 to 22 years, who resided in four neighborhoods in Chicago’s Southside. Findings indicated that for sexual minority adolescents, government assistance was negatively correlated with perceived school safety while having caring teachers was positively associated with perceived school safety. For heterosexual adolescents, caring parents, a lower level of peer victimization, caring teachers, and bonding to school were positively associated with perceived school safety. However, perceived connectedness to the neighborhood was negatively related to perceived school safety. Except for caring teachers, protective factors were not significantly associated with perceived school safety among sexual minority adolescents as they were for heterosexual adolescents. Overall, findings from the study demonstrate that although identifying protective factors is critical; for Black sexual minority youth, it is especially important to consider macrosystem-level factors that would impede feeling safe in school, such as the presence of racism and homophobia in the school environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-99
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Social Work Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Protective factors
  • School safety
  • Sexual minorities
  • Social-ecological framework
  • Urban


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