Dimensions of sexual orientation and the prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in the United States

Am J Public Health. 2010 Mar;100(3):468-75. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.152942. Epub 2009 Aug 20.


Objectives: We used data from a nationally representative sample to examine the associations among 3 dimensions of sexual orientation (identity, attraction, and behavior), lifetime and past-year mood and anxiety disorders, and sex.

Methods: We analyzed data from wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

Results: Mental health outcomes differed by sex, dimension of sexual orientation, and sexual minority group. Whereas a lesbian, gay, or bisexual identity was associated with higher odds of any mood or anxiety disorder for both men and women, women reporting only same-sex sexual partners in their lifetime had the lowest rates of most disorders. Higher odds of any lifetime mood or anxiety disorder were more consistent and pronounced among sexual minority men than among sexual minority women. Finally, bisexual behavior conferred the highest odds of any mood or anxiety disorder for both males and females.

Conclusions: Findings point to mental health disparities among some, but not all, sexual minority groups and emphasize the importance of including multiple measures of sexual orientation in population-based health studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Bisexuality / psychology
  • Bisexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Female / statistics & numerical data*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Minority Groups / psychology
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Stereotyping
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology