A Disaggregated, Categorical Analyses of Depression Among Sexual Gender Minority University Students

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Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services

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Attending college and belonging to a sexual or gender minority (SGM) are associated with increased depression. The severity of symptoms may be more pronounced due to gender identity and sexual orientation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate SGM college student depression levels and depression-related functional difficulty using a validated instrument. University students (n = 780) completed a web-based survey. Reported depression (Patient Health Questionnaire, PHQ-9) was compared between gender (female, male, and nonbinary) and sexual orientation (heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, and self-identified individuals). Nonparametric analyses were employed. Thirty percent of the students’ PHQ-9 summed score indicated moderate to severe depression. Heterosexual males were the least depressed (lowest score). Bisexual and lesbian females had the highest depression scores. Bisexual (p = 0.01) and lesbian females (p = 0.006) reported increased levels of depression-related functional difficulty when compared to straight females. Significant differences between gender identity and depression in-treatment status (X 2 = 11.76, p = 0.003, Cramer’s V =.123) were also found. These results provide salient information regarding mental health disparities in SGM college students that is useful for designing and implementing mental health promotion programs in this subgroup.


College students; Depression; Mental health; PHQ-9; Sexual and gender minority


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Psychiatric and Mental Health



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