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Discrimination Contributes to LGBT Depression Rates
by GayHealth Staff

Social stigma and discrimination puts LGBT people at greater risk for depression, anxiety and other psychological illnesses, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.


Several studies have suggested that LGBT people are at greater risk for anxiety and depre
ssion compared with heterosexual people. Researchers led by Dr. Susan D. Cochran from the University of California, Los Angeles analyzed the role discrimination plays in the risk of depressive disorders.

Research was based on a national survey of people between 25 and 74 years old. There were 73 homosexual or bisexual and 2844 heterosexual participants. They were asked about their lifetime experiences with discrimination as well as their mental health, and researchers assessed their levels of depressive, anxiety, and substance dependence disorders and current psychological distress.

Gay and bisexual people reported more lifetime and day-to-day experiences with discrimination. Approximately 42 percent attributed this at least in part to their sexual orientation. There was a greater prevalence of psychiatric illnesses among lesbian, gay and bisexual people. "Higher levels of discrimination may underlie recent observations of greater psychiatric morbidity," according to the article.

Depression topped the list of LGBT health concerns in the yearly survey of more than 1000 people conducted in May 2001. In addition, more than 50 percent of respondents were diagnosed with anxiety or depression.

Updated: Monday, 5 November 2001


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