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The long-term mental health risk associated with non-heterosexual orientation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 December 2016

R. A. Burns*
Affiliation:
Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, Research School of Population Health, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
P. Butterworth
Affiliation:
Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, Research School of Population Health, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia Faculty of Business and Economics, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
A. F. Jorm
Affiliation:
Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
*
*Address for correspondence: Dr R. A. Burns, Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, The Australian National University, Building 54, Mills Road, Acton ACT 2601, Australia. (Email: richard.burns@anu.edu.au)

Abstract

Aims.

Findings that describe the mental health risk associated with non-heterosexual orientation in young and middle-aged adults are from cross-sectional designs or fail to discriminate homosexual and bisexual orientations. This study examines the mental health risk of homosexual and bisexual orientation over an 8-year period.

Methods.

Participants were from the age-cohort study, the Personality and Total Health Through Life Project, were observed twice every 4 years, and aged 20–24 (n = 2353) and 40–44 (n = 2499) at baseline.

Results.

Homosexual orientation was unrelated to long-term depression risk. Risk for anxiety and depression associated with homosexual and bisexual orientations, respectively, were attenuated in fully-adjusted models. Bisexual orientation risk associated with anxiety was partially attenuated in fully-adjusted models.

Conclusions.

Non-heterosexual orientation was not a major risk factor for long-term mental health outcomes. Instead, those with a non-heterosexual orientation were more likely to experience other mental health risk factors, which explain most of the risk observed amongst those with a non-heterosexual orientation.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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