Background: Increased psychiatric morbidity has been widely reported among non-heterosexual individuals (defined as reporting a homosexual/bisexual identity and/or same-sex sexual partners). However, the causes of this psychiatric ill-health are mostly unknown.
Method: We attempted to estimate the influence of minority stress and familial factors on psychiatric disorder among adults with same-sex sexual partners. Self-report data from a 2005 survey of adults (age 20-47 years, n=17,379) in the population-based Swedish Twin Registry were analysed with regression modelling and co-twin control methodology.
Results: Rates of depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), eating disorders, alcohol dependence and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were increased among men and women with same-sex sexual experiences. Adjusting for perceived discrimination and hate crime victimization lowered this risk whereas controlling for familial (genetic or environmental) factors in within-twin pair comparisons further reduced or eliminated it.
Conclusions: Components of minority stress influence the risk of psychiatric ill-health among individuals with any same-sex sexual partner. However, substantial confounding by familial factors suggests a common genetic and/or environmental liability for same-sex sexual behaviour and psychiatric morbidity.