Same-sex sexuality and psychiatric disorders in the second Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS-2)

LGBT Health. 2014 Dec;1(4):292-301. doi: 10.1089/lgbt.2014.0031. Epub 2014 Oct 16.


Purpose: Sexual orientation has been shown to be a risk factor for psychiatric disorders. This study compared whether sexual orientation-related disparities in the prevalence of psychiatric disorders are similar based on homosexual behavior versus attraction and tested whether, with increased acceptance of homosexuality, these disparities have diminished over time.

Methods: The Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0 was administered with a total of 6,646 Dutch persons, aged 18 to 64 years.

Results: Between 2.0% and 2.5% of the participants reported same-sex sexual behavior in the preceding year or same-sex attraction. Homosexually active persons and persons with same-sex attraction reported a higher prevalence of disorders than heterosexual persons. There were more disparities in the prevalence of disorders based on sexual attraction than based on sexual behavior. Comparing these results with a previous study, showed that no significant changes over time have occurred in the pattern of health disparities.

Conclusions: Sexual orientation continues to be a risk factor for psychiatric disorders, stressing the need for understanding the origins of these disparities.

Keywords: Netherlands; Sexual orientation; epidemiology; health status disparities; mental disorders.