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Mental health and quality of life of gay men and lesbians in England and Wales: Controlled, cross-sectional study

  • Michael King (a1), Eamonn McKeown (a1), James Warner (a2), Angus Ramsay (a1), Katherine Johnson (a1), Clive Cort (a1), Lucie Wright (a1), Robert Blizard (a1) and Oliver Davidson (a3)...
Abstract
Background

Little is known about the mental health of gay men and lesbians living in Europe.

Aims

To compare psychological status, quality of life and use of mental health services by lesbians and gay men with heterosexual people.

Method

Cross-sectional study in England and Wales using ‘snowball’ sampling.

Results

Participants: 656 gay men, 505 heterosexual men, 430 lesbians and 588 heterosexual women. Gay men were more likely than heterosexual men to score above threshold on the Clinical Interview Schedule, indicating greater levels of psychological distress (RR 1.24, 95% Cl 1.07–1.43), as were lesbians compared with heterosexual women (RR 1.30, 95% Cl 1.11-1.52). Gay men and lesbians were more likely than heterosexuals to have consulted a mental health professional in the past, deliberately harmed themselves and used recreational drugs. Lesbians were more likely to have experienced verbal and physical intimidation and to consume more alcohol than heterosexual women.

Conclusions

Awareness of mental health issues for gay men and lesbians should become a standard part of training for mental health professionals, who need to be aware of the potential for substance misuse and self-harm in this group and of the discrimination experienced by many lesbians.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Michael King, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Royal Free Campus, Rowland Hill Street, London NW3 2PF, UK. E-mail: m.king@rfc.ucl.ac.uk
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.

Footnotes
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
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Mental health and quality of life of gay men and lesbians in England and Wales: Controlled, cross-sectional study

  • Michael King (a1), Eamonn McKeown (a1), James Warner (a2), Angus Ramsay (a1), Katherine Johnson (a1), Clive Cort (a1), Lucie Wright (a1), Robert Blizard (a1) and Oliver Davidson (a3)...
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