Mental Health Disparities Among Sexual Minorities

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Nevada Journal of Public Health

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Decades of research has shown that the sexual minority (SM) or lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or queer people experience adverse physical and mental health outcomes to a greater extent than their heterosexual counterparts. This study drew from the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to examine mental health distress across SM subgroups from a large representative sample of adults within the US population. Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the odds of experiencing more days of mental health distress for SM subgroups relative to their heterosexual counterparts. SM adults had a significantly greater odds of experiencing mental health distress compared to their heterosexual counterparts; however, the magnitude of these associations differed across SM subgroups. Compared to SM, Heterosexual males and females had a greater percent of individuals who reported 0 days of mental health distress per month (62.8% and 70.1%, respectively). The odds of lesbians experiencing more mental health distress was attenuated when adjusting for sociodemographic factors. The findings from this study highlight challenges for SM people in experiencing greater mental health distress compared to their heterosexual counterparts; however, there were differences across SM subgroups and within sociodemographic segments of the SM population.


Mental Health; Sexual orientation; Health disparities


Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health



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