Sexual orientation and symptoms of common mental disorder or low wellbeing: combined meta-analysis of 12 UK population health surveys

Semlyen, Joanna, King, Michael, Varney, Justin and Hagger-Johnson, Gareth (2016) Sexual orientation and symptoms of common mental disorder or low wellbeing: combined meta-analysis of 12 UK population health surveys. BMC Psychiatry, 16 (1). ISSN 1471-244X

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    Abstract

    Background Previous studies have indicated increased risk of mental disorder symptoms, suicide and substance misuse in lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults, compared to heterosexual adults. Our aims were to determine an estimate of the association between sexual orientation identity and poor mental health and wellbeing among adults from 12 population surveys in the UK, and to consider whether effects differed for specific subgroups of the population. Methods Individual data were pooled from the British Cohort Study 2012, Health Survey for England 2011, 2012 and 2013, Scottish Health Survey 2008 to 2013, Longitudinal Study of Young People in England 2009/10 and Understanding Society 2011/12. Individual participant meta-analysis was used to pool estimates from each study, allowing for between-study variation. Results Of 94,818 participants, 1.1 % identified as lesbian/gay, 0.9 % as bisexual, 0.8 % as ‘other’ and 97.2 % as heterosexual. Adjusting for a range of covariates, adults who identified as lesbian/gay had higher prevalence of common mental disorder when compared to heterosexuals, but the association was different in different age groups: apparent for those under 35 (OR = 1.78, 95 % CI 1.40, 2.26), weaker at age 35–54.9 (OR = 1.42, 95 % CI 1.10, 1.84), but strongest at age 55+ (OR = 2.06, 95 % CI 1.29, 3.31). These effects were stronger for bisexual adults, similar for those identifying as ‘other’, and similar for 'low wellbeing'. Conclusions In the UK, LGB adults have higher prevalence of poor mental health and low wellbeing when compared to heterosexuals, particularly younger and older LGB adults. Sexual orientation identity should be measured routinely in all health studies and in administrative data in the UK in order to influence national and local policy development and service delivery. These results reiterate the need for local government, NHS providers and public health policy makers to consider how to address inequalities in mental health among these minority groups.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​4.​0/​), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://​creativecommons.​org/​publicdomain/​zero/​1.​0/​) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
    Uncontrolled Keywords: anxiety disorders,depression,health surveys,homosexuality,mental disorders,meta-analysis,mood disorders,neurotic disorders,sexual orientation,sexuality
    Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
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    Depositing User: Pure Connector
    Date Deposited: 12 May 2016 15:00
    Last Modified: 20 Mar 2019 01:04
    URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/58695
    DOI: 10.1186/s12888-016-0767-z

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