A comparison of lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual college undergraduate women on selected mental health issues

J Am Coll Health. 2013;61(4):185-94. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2013.787619.


Objective: To investigate selected mental health characteristics of lesbians and bisexual undergraduate college women as compared with heterosexual college women.

Participants: Self-identified lesbians and bisexual and heterosexual female college students who took part in the American College Health Association National College Health Assessment II (ACHA-NCHA-II) in Fall 2008, Spring 2009, and Fall 2009.

Methods: A secondary analysis of the ACHA-NCHA-II data set for 3 semesters was conducted. Comparisons of lesbians and bisexual and heterosexual female college students were made.

Results: Bisexual women reported the worst mental health status in all areas studied including anxiety, anger, depressive symptoms, self-injury, and suicidal ideation and attempts. Both bisexual women and lesbians had a far greater likelihood of having these mental health issues when compared with heterosexual women. Lesbians and bisexual women utilized significantly more mental health services (with the exception of clergy) than heterosexual women.

Conclusions: College health professionals should recognize and address the mental health needs of bisexual and lesbian undergraduate college women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anger
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Heterosexuality / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Racial Groups / psychology
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Students / psychology*
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Universities
  • Young Adult