Adolescents' and young adults' perception of homosexuality and related factors in Three Asian Cities

Yongliang Feng, Chaohua Lou, Ersheng Gao, Xiaowen Tu, Yan Cheng, Mark R. Emerson, Laurie S. Zabin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Purpose: Adolescents' and young adults' perception of homosexuality plays an important role in the marginalization and stigmatization of the homosexual, thereby influencing his or her health. This article aims to study that perception and to examine its predictors in three Asian cities that are culturally dominated by Confucianism. Methods: From May 2006 to January 2007, a cross-sectional survey of 17,016 adolescents and young adults, aged 1524 years old, in both urban and rural sites of three Asian cities (Hanoi in Vietnam, Shanghai in the mainland of China, and Taipei in Taiwan) was conducted through interview and computer-assisted self-interview for sensitive questions. Chi-square tests and multivariate logistic regression were performed to identify the predictors for their perception of homosexuality. Results: The percentage of adolescents and young adults who hold a positive view of homosexuality (i.e., thought it was normal and/or acceptable) was low, especially in Hanoi and Shanghai; these figures increased from Hanoi to Shanghai to Taipei for both males and females. Overall, those factors significantly associated with adolescents' and young adults' perception of homosexuality included individuals' demographic characteristics (urban/rural, age, economic status, student status, and educational level), preferred origin of movies/videos, self-identified sexual orientation, sexual and reproductive health knowledge, family values, gender role values, and attitudes toward premarital sex. Conclusions: In these three Asian cities composed of populations whose views are largely influenced by Confucianism, adolescents and young adults mainly hold a negative perception of homosexuality. The most common and important predictors for a respondent's perception of homosexuality were his or her knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and how traditional his/her values may be. Greater attention needs to be paid to the popularization of knowledge about sexual and reproductive health including homosexualityand to efforts aimed at instilling more liberal attitudes to improve adolescents' and young adults' perception of homosexuality. This could then reduce the marginalization and stigmatization of the homosexual, and thus improve his/her health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S52-S60
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Mar 2012



  • Adolescents and young adults
  • Asian city
  • Attitude
  • Homosexuality
  • Perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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