Psychiatric disorders, suicidality, and personality among young men by sexual orientation

Eur Psychiatry. 2014 Oct;29(8):514-22. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2014.05.001. Epub 2014 Jun 24.


Personality and its potential role in mediating risk of psychiatric disorders and suicidality are assessed by sexual orientation, using data collected among young Swiss men (n=5875) recruited while presenting for mandatory military conscription. Mental health outcomes were analyzed by sexual attraction using logistic regression, controlling for five-factor model personality traits and socio-demographics. Homo/bisexual men demonstrated the highest scores for neuroticism-anxiety but the lowest for sociability and sensation seeking, with no differences for aggression-hostility. Among homo/bisexual men, 10.2% fulfilled diagnostic criteria for major depression in the past 2weeks, 10.8% for ADHD in the past 12months, 13.8% for lifetime anti-social personality disorder (ASPD), and 6.0% attempted suicide in the past 12months. Upon adjusting (AOR) for personality traits, their odds ratios (OR) for major depression (OR=4.78, 95% CI 2.81-8.14; AOR=1.46, 95% CI 0.80-2.65) and ADHD (OR=2.17, 95% CI=1.31-3.58; AOR=1.00, 95% CI 0.58-1.75) lost statistical significance, and the odds ratio for suicide attempt was halved (OR=5.10, 95% CI 2.57-10.1; AOR=2.42, 95% CI 1.16-5.02). There are noteworthy differences in personality traits by sexual orientation, and much of the increased mental morbidity appears to be accounted for by such underlying differences, with important implications for etiology and treatment.

Keywords: ADHD; Anti-social personality disorder; Depression; Homosexuality; Personality; Suicidality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bisexuality / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / etiology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Personality*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Young Adult