In a study conducted by researchers from Cornell University, it was found that teens that do not adhere to behavioral norms traditionally associated with their gender are less likely to be happy compared to their gender conforming counterparts.

For many not conforming to gender stereotypes can have a profound effect on their intrinsic happiness.

"We need to rethink how sexual orientation relates to health. Too much emphasis has been put on a non-heterosexual orientation itself being detrimental," said Gerulf Rieger, lead author and Cornell postdoctoral associate, who conducted the study with Ritch C. Savin-Williams, professor of human development and director of the Sex and Gender Lab For their research.

The study conducted by Rieger and Savin-Willaims assessed information from 475 rural high school students. Each individual participated in a survey regarding their sexual orientation, preference for male-typical and female-typical actives and their overall psychological well-being.

Data found that the non-heterosexual teens who participated in the study were more likely to violate gender norms relating to behavior, feelings, activities and interests. Similar to the non-heterosexual groups, a few of the heterosexual participants also rebelled against gender norms. The effects of being a feminine boy, or masculine girl, were similar across the study regardless of sexual orientation. Childhood and teenager gender non-conformity were negatively associated with well-being. However, the effects in respect to mental health were minimal. Research demonstrated that many of the same-sex orientated individuals experienced a reduced amount of mental health problems.

"Perhaps some adolescents are harassed not so much because they are gay," Savin-Williams said, "but because they violate 'acceptable' ways of acting. If so, sexism may be a more pervasive problem among youth than homophobia."

The study was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.