Thursday's child: the role of adverse childhood experiences in explaining mental health disparities among lesbian, gay, and bisexual U.S. adults

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2015 Feb;50(2):335-8. doi: 10.1007/s00127-014-0955-4. Epub 2014 Nov 4.


This study examined how adverse childhood experiences (ACE) may explain disparities in poor mental health between lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB), and heterosexual adults. Data are from three US states' 2010 behavioral risk factor surveillance system surveys (n = 20,060) that included sexual orientation, ACE inventory, and mental distress. LGB status was significantly associated with mental distress (OR = 1.85 [1.14-3.02]). Once incorporating ACE scores into the multiple regression analysis, LGB status was no longer associated with mental distress (OR = 1.28 [0.76-2.16]). The results corroborate previous research that LGB individuals report greater prevalence of childhood adversity than their heterosexual peers, which may explain LGB adulthood health disparities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Bisexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Heterosexuality / psychology
  • Heterosexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Female / statistics & numerical data
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology