National Lesbian Health Care Survey: implications for mental health care

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1994 Apr;62(2):228-42. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.62.2.228.


This article presents demographic, lifestyle, and mental health information about 1,925 lesbians from all 50 states who participated as respondents in the National Lesbian Health Care Survey (1984-1985), the most comprehensive study on U.S. lesbians to date. Over half the sample had had thoughts about suicide at some time, and 18% had attempted suicide. Thirty-seven percent had been physically abused as a child or adult, 32% had been raped or sexually attacked, and 19% had been involved in incestuous relationships while growing up. Almost one third used tobacco on a daily basis, and about 30% drank alcohol more than once a week, 6% daily. About three fourths had received counseling at some time, and half had done so for reasons of sadness and depression. Lesbians in the survey also were socially connected and had a variety of social supports, mostly within the lesbian community. However, few had come out to all family members and coworkers. Level of openness about lesbianism was associated with less fear of exposure and with more choices about mental health counseling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Counseling / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Homosexuality / psychology
  • Homosexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Identification
  • Social Support
  • United States