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Beyondblue funds research into homophobia in youth sport

Victoria University researchers will examine the impact of homophobic bullying on young people participating in sport.

The research, led by Dr Caroline Symons, will survey young people aged 14-23 across Victoria on their experiences of bullying based on their sexuality and how this affects their health and wellbeing.

The project has been funded by a $122,000 grant from mental health agency Beyondblue.

Dr Symons said the study would build on her groundbreaking 2010 report Come Out To Play, which found widespread homophobia in sporting clubs in urban Victoria.

"This will be a much larger survey that focuses on mental health issues and on a younger age group," Dr Symons said.

"Sport and physical education are known to be significant environments in which homophobic bullying takes place," she said.

"Studies elsewhere in the world show that homophobic bullying of young people leads to serious mental health problems from depression and anxiety to suicide, but the picture in Victoria is far from clear.

"Our earlier work revealed homophobia is a serious concern in club sport in urbanised areas. Now we want to extend the reach of our investigation to look at school sport, PE classes and club sport across Victoria, including country regions."

The research team will survey 750 young participants in sport and physical education who are same-sex attracted and gender-questioning.

The research project was launched by the Victorian Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge and Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett at the State Library last night.

 

Media inquiries: Jim Buckell, External Communications Manager,

Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 4243; mobile: 0400 465 459; email: jim.buckell@vu.edu.au

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