Award Date

5-1-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Committee Member

Sheniz Moonie

Second Committee Member

Jennifer Pharr

Third Committee Member

Francisco Sy

Fourth Committee Member

Timothy Bungum

Fifth Committee Member

Kendall Hartley

Number of Pages

80

Abstract

Decades of research has shown that sexual and gender minorities (SGMs) experience adverse health and mental health outcomes to a greater extent than their heterosexual peers. The need to better understand and eliminate health disparities in the SGM population was recognized by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) at NIH. The Secretary of Health at the Department of Health and Human Services approved the designation of the SGM population as a health disparities population in 2016 and called for SGM studies to examine the health needs of the SGM population across SGM subgroups via large representative samples of the SGM population. This cross-sectional study drew from the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to examine the mental health outcome of mental health distress across SGM subgroups in a large representative sample of SGMs and heterosexual adults in the US population. A series of multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the odds for SGM subgroups to experience more days of mental health distress relative to heterosexual peers. SGM subgroups had significantly greater odds for experiencing both 1-14 days and 15-30 days of mental health distress relative to their heterosexual peers; however, the magnitude of these odds differed across SGM subgroups. Bisexual females had notably greater odds of experiencing more days of mental health distress (OR=5.40, CI 4.16-7.01) while the lesbian females had notably lower odds of mental health distress across SGM subgroups. The odds for lesbian females to experience 1-14 days of mental health distress were no longer significantly greater than their heterosexual peers when adjusting for sociodemographic factors; lesbian females no longer had significantly greater odds of experiencing more days of mental health distress (1-14 days and 15-30 days) than their heterosexual peers when adjusting for education, income, and age; Multiracial females who identified as lesbian had significantly lower odds of experiencing mental health distress relative to White (non-Hispanic) heterosexual females (OR=09, CI .92-.93). The findings from this study support the conclusions put forth in the current SGM research: SGMs have greater odds of experiencing mental health distress compared to their heterosexual peers; however, these odds vary across SGM subgroups and within sociodemographic segments of the SGM population.

Keywords

Health disparities; Mental health disparities; Sexual orientation minorities

Disciplines

Biostatistics | Epidemiology

Language

English


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