Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Sexual orientation and mental health: results from a community survey of young and middle – aged adults

  • Anthony F. Jorm (a1), Ailsa E. Korten (a1), Bryan Rodgers (a1), Patricia A. Jacomb (a1) and Helen Christensen (a1)...
Abstract
Background

Community surveys have reported a higher rate of mental health problems in combined groups of homosexual and bisexual participants, but have not separated these two groups.

Aims

To assess separately the mental health of homosexual and bisexual groups compared with heterosexuals.

Method

A community survey of 4824 adults was carried out in Canberra, Australia. Measures covered anxiety depression, suicidality alcohol misuse, positive and negative affect and a range of risk factors for poorer mental health.

Results

The bisexual group was highest on measures of anxiety depression and negative affect, with the homosexual group falling between the other two groups. Both the bisexual and homosexual groups were high on suicidality. Bisexuals also had more current adverse life events, greater childhood adversity, less positive support from family, more negative support from friends and a higher frequency of financial problems. Homosexuals reported greater childhood adversity and less positive support from family.

Conclusions

The bisexual group had the worst mental health, although homosexual participants also tended to report more distress.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Sexual orientation and mental health: results from a community survey of young and middle – aged adults
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Sexual orientation and mental health: results from a community survey of young and middle – aged adults
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Sexual orientation and mental health: results from a community survey of young and middle – aged adults
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor A. F. Jorm, Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University Canberra 0200, Australia. Tel: +61 2 61258414; fax: +61 2 61250733; e-mail: Anthony. Jorm.@anu.edu.au
Footnotes
Hide All

Declaration of interest

Funding was provided by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Rotary Health Research Fund and the Australian Brewers' Foundation.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Bagley, C. & Tremblay, P. (1997) Suicidal behaviors in homosexual and bisexual males. Crisis, 18, 2434.
Brugha, T. Bebbington, P. Tennant, C. et al (1985) The list of threatening experiences: a subset of 12 life event categories with considerable long-term contextual threat. Psychological Medicine, 15, 189194.
Cochran, S. D. & Mays, V. M. (2000a) Lifetime prevalence of suicide symptoms and affective disorders among men reporting same-sex sexual partners: results from NHANES III. American Journal of Public Health, 90, 573578.
Cochran, S. D. & Mays, V. M. (2000b) Relation between psychiatric syndromes and behaviorally defined sexual orientation in a sample of the US population. American Journal of Epidemiology, 151, 516523.
DuRant, R. H. Krowebuk, D. P. & Sinal, S. H. (1998) Victimization, use of violence, and drug use at school among male adolescents who engage in same-sex sexual behavior. Journal of Pediatrics, 132, 1318.
Faulkner, A. H. & Cranston, K. (1998) Correlates of same-sex sexual behavior in a random sample of Massachusetts high school students. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 262266.
Fergusson, D. M. Horwood, J. & Beautrais, A. L. (1999) Is sexual orientation related to mental health problems and suicidality in young people? Archives of General Psychiatry, 56, 876880.
Friedman, R. C. (1999) Homosexuality, psychopathology, and suicidality. Archives of General Psychiatry, 56, 887888.
Garofalo, R. Wolf, C. Kessel, S. et al (1998) The association between health risk behaviors and sexual orientation among a school-based sample of adolescents. Pediatrics, 101, 895902.
Garofalo, R. Wolf, C. Kessel, S. et al (1999) Sexual orientation and risk of suicide attempts among a representative sample of youth. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 153, 487493.
Gilman, S. E. Cochran, S. D. Mays, V. M. et al (2001) Risk of psychiatric disorders among individuals reporting same-sex sexual partners in the National Comorbidity Survey. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 933939.
Goldberg, D. Bridges, K. Duncan-Jones, P. et al (1988) Detecting anxiety and depression in general medical settings. BMJ, 297, 897899.
Gruskin, E. P. Hart, S. Gordon, N. et al (2001) Patterns of cigarette smoking and alcohol use among lesbians and bisexual women enrolled in a large health maintenance organization. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 976979.
Herrell, R. Goldberg, J. True, W. R. et al (1999) Sexual orientation and suicidality: a co-twin control study in adult men. Archives of General Psychiatry, 56, 867874.
Johnson, A. M. Mercer, C. H. Erens, B. et al (2001) Sexual behaviour in Britain: partnerships, practices, and HIV risk behaviours. Lancet, 358, 18351842.
Jorm, A. F. Rodgers, B. Jacomb, P. A. et al (1999) Smoking and mental health: results from a community survey. Medical Journal of Australia, 170, 7477.
Lindelow, M. Hardy, R. & Rodgers, B. (1997) Development of a scale to measure symptoms of anxiety and depression in the general population: the Psychiatric Symptom Frequency (PSF) scale in the UK general population. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 51, 549557.
Remafedi, G. French, S. Story, M. et al (1998) The relationship between suicide risk and sexual orientation: results of a population-based study. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 5760.
Sandfort, T. G. M. de Graaf, R. Bijl, R. V. et al (2001) Same-sex sexual behavior and psychiatric disorders: findings from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS). Archives of General Psychiatry, 58, 8591.
Saunders, J. B. Aasland, O. G. Babor, T. F. et al (1993) Development of the alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT): WHO collaborative project on early detection of persons with harmful alcohol consumption – II. Addiction, 88, 791804.
Schuster, T. L. Kessler, R. C. & Aseltine, R. H. (1990) Supportive interactions, negative interactions, and depressed mood. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18, 423438.
Ware, J. E. Kosinski, M. & Keller, S. D. (1996) A 12-item short-form health survey: construction of scales and preliminary tests of reliability and validity. Medical Care, 34, 220233.
Watson, D. Clark, L. A. & Tellegren, A. (1988) Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: the PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 10631070.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 11
Total number of PDF views: 81 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 459 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 2nd January 2018 - 16th July 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Sexual orientation and mental health: results from a community survey of young and middle – aged adults

  • Anthony F. Jorm (a1), Ailsa E. Korten (a1), Bryan Rodgers (a1), Patricia A. Jacomb (a1) and Helen Christensen (a1)...
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *