Minority stress, perceived burdensomeness, and depressive symptoms among sexual minority youth

J Adolesc. 2018 Jul;66:9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2018.03.015. Epub 2018 May 7.


Although studies have shown links between minority stress and mental health (e.g., Meyer, 2003), there is little research explaining this association. Research has suggested that adequate coping skills might protect youth from the negative impact of stress (Compas et al., 2017). Thus, we aimed to examine: 1) whether associations between minority stress and depressive symptoms occurred through mechanisms of perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness, and 2) whether these associations were dependent on level of problem-solving coping (moderated mediation). Using an online survey of 267 sexual minority youth from the Netherlands (16-22 years; 28.8% male), the results show an indirect relationship of sexual orientation victimization and internalized homophobia with depressive symptoms occurring through perceived burdensomeness; for both males and females. Problem-solving coping skills did not significantly moderate the aforementioned indirect relationships. These results have implications for prevention and intervention work that currently focuses on social isolation rather than perceived burdensomeness.

Keywords: Coping; Depressive symptoms; Interpersonal-psychological theory; Minority stress; Sexual minority youth.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bullying
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Perception
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / psychology*
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult