This exploratory study examines measures of one drop-in center’s efforts to improve health outcomes of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) youth by facilitating out-group secondary social ties. Hatch Youth, located in Houston, Texas, aims to increase self-esteem and decrease negative health outcomes by encouraging GLBT youth to be part of Houston’s greater GLBT community. Survey data (N = 614) collected between October 2003 and April 2013 were entered into logistic regression models. Attending Hatch Youth for 6 or more months was associated with having a social group outside of school (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 2.07; 95% confidence interval [CI] = [1.33, 3.20]), being out to that social group (aOR = 2.34; 95% CI = [1.35, 4.03]), and interacting with the GLBT community outside of Hatch Youth (aOR = 2.33; 95% CI = [1.50, 3.54]), when referenced against youth attending less than 1 month. Having a good family relationship in the last 90 days (aOR = 2.48; 95% CI = [1.67, 3.70]) and having a social group outside of school (aOR = 2.57; 95% CI = [1.67, 3.97]) were associated with higher self-esteem. Higher self-esteem was associated with practicing safe sex (aOR = 1.86; 95% CI = [1.25, 2.75]) and not using street drugs (aOR = 0.45; 95% CI = [0.24, 0.83]). Interacting with the GLBT community outside of Hatch Youth was associated with practicing safe sex (aOR = 1.64; 95% CI = [1.12, 2.42]). Drop-in centers can strengthen secondary social ties among youth. Because questions remain about how drop-in centers can assist youth aging out of their programs to find other supportive secondary social ties, additional studies examining similar drop-in centers are needed.
- community organization
- social support
- social ties
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health