Sexual Orientation and Psychological Distress across Cohorts

Hui Liu , Michigan State University
Corinne Reczek, The Ohio State University

Sexual minorities experience higher levels of psychological distress than their straight counterparts. Yet, with the advancement of sexual minority rights over recent decades, whether this health disadvantage has been reduced among recent cohorts is unknown. Our analysis of data from the 2013-2017 National Health and Interview Surveys found no evidence of a reduced gap in psychological distress between sexual minorities and straight people across cohorts. Indeed, the disadvantage of gays and lesbians and, more strikingly, bisexuals, in psychological distress in comparison to the straights has increased across cohorts. SES explains only a small part of the increasing trends in psychological distress disadvantage of LGBs. Findings highlight the importance of designing and implementing public policies and programs to reduce societal homophobia and biphobia that shape psychological distress disparities among LGB Millennials and Generation Xers.

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 Presented in Session 71. Gender, Sexuality, and Population Health