AIM: Our primary study objective was to identify risk factors for serious psychological distress (SPD) within the lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) population, while accounting for the differences across these groups compared to heterosexual adults. We hypothesized that LGB adults had a higher risk for SPD compared to heterosexual adults, and that variation existed in SPD risk factors between LGB groups.
METHODS: National Health Interview Survey data collected from 2013 to 2018 were pooled to examine risk factors for SPD among gay men (n = 1752), bisexual men (n = 509), lesbian women (n = 1421), bisexual women (n = 1235), heterosexual men (n = 80,191) and heterosexual women (n = 97,909). A multivariate logistic regression model estimated SPD risk factors.
RESULTS: Bisexual women were at higher risk for SPD [adjusted odds ratio (AOR )= 2.5; 95% CI 1.8, 3.5] compared to heterosexual women. Bisexual (AOR = 3.8; 95% CI 1.9, 7.4) and gay men (AOR = 2.0; 95% CI 1.4, 3.0) were at increased risk for SPD compared to heterosexual men. Younger vs older adults were more likely to identify as bisexual or gay (18-25 years vs 65 years and older identifying as gay men 17.0% vs 9.5%; bisexual men 33.4% vs 8.0%; lesbian 18.0% vs 8.6% and bisexual women 37.7% vs 3.5%). Gay men were more likely to live alone compared to other groups (34.5% vs 16.9% heterosexual men, 31.8% bisexual men, 17.6% heterosexual women, 20.7% lesbian, 19.7% bisexual women). Living alone increased risk for SPD among men (AOR = 2.2; 95% CI 1.6, 3.0).
CONCLUSION: Sexual minorities have increased mental health risks compared to heterosexual adults.
The current social environment and its association with serious psychological distress among adults who identify as lesbian, gay, and bisexual: findings from the National Health Interview Survey (2013–2018)
Journal of Public Health 10.1007/s10389-021-01633-8. doi: 10.1007/s10389-021-01633-8.