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Young LGBQ Adults Experience More Psychological Distress Than Older LGBQ People

Author: The Williams Institute
Author Contact: Rachel Dowd, dowd@law.ucla.edu
Published: 11th Aug 2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: LGBTQ+ News Publications

Summary: First nationally representative study to examine physical and mental health indicators among three generations of LGBQ people.


Main Document

A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds younger LGBQ adults are physically healthier but have worse psychological distress than older LGBQ people.

Researchers examined a representative sample of LGBQ people in the United States from three age groups-young (18-25), middle (34-41), and older (52-59)-to assess how physical and mental health indicators differed among the three generations. Researchers compared several indicators, including alcohol and drug abuse, general and physical health, mental health and psychological distress, and positive well-being.

The oldest LGBQ group reported fewer days of poor mental health than the youngest cohort; the middle cohort did not differ from either group. Psychological distress was higher for younger age groups, with the youngest age group showing the most psychological distress.

Results showed no differences among the age groups in substance abuse or social well-being. However, several differences were noted when data were analyzed by sexual minority identity subgroups and gender. Bisexual people reported more drug abuse and less happiness, social well-being, and life satisfaction compared with gay and lesbian people. Nonbinary people reported worse general health, more psychological distress, and less social well-being compared to women.

"We expected that the increase in social acceptance for LGBQ people over the past decade would result in more positive mental health indicators for younger LGBQ people, but the results are mixed. There is some indication of better health among young LGBQ people, including social well-being, but there is also a persistent negative experience of psychological distress in that group," said co-author Ilan H. Meyer, Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. "Despite social changes, young LGBQ people continue to experience stressful experiences related to their sexual minority status, which, in turn, leads to adverse mental health."

ADDITIONAL FINDINGS

"Younger LGBQ people come out early and this may result in greater developmental challenges and stressors at a younger age compared with older generations of LGBQ people," said lead author, Stephen T. Russell, professor at the University of Texas at Austin. "It is also notable that positive well-being was consistent across all groups. More research is needed to understand these indicators of resilience and health."

The Generations Study examines the health and well-being of cisgender and nonbinary LGBQ people. Transgender people, regardless of their sexual orientation, were included in our TransPop Study, which examines the demographics, health, and lived experiences of the first national probability sample of transgender individuals in the U.S.

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The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.

 

 

References and Source(s):

Young LGBQ Adults Experience More Psychological Distress Than Older LGBQ People | The Williams Institute (Rachel Dowd, dowd@law.ucla.edu). SexualDiversity.org makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

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• (APA): The Williams Institute. (2022, August 11). Young LGBQ Adults Experience More Psychological Distress Than Older LGBQ People. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved April 13, 2024 from www.sexualdiversity.org/news/1002.php


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