Mental Disorders, Distress, and Stressful Life Events by Sexual Orientation: Results of the Minnesota College Student Health Survey

Julia Przedworski, University of Minnesota
Nicole VanKim, University of Minnesota
Marla Eisenberg, University of Minnesota
Donna McAlpine, University of Minnesota
Katherine Lust, University of Minnesota
Melissa Laska, University of Minnesota

Sexual minority college students may be at increased risk of poor mental health, due to factors such as minority stress, stigma and discrimination, carrying implications for students’ wellbeing, academic achievement and social functioning. This study examined the mental health of a random sample of sexual minority college students (n=34,324) attending 40 Minnesota 2- and 4-year institutions (2007-2011 College Student Health Survey). Logistic regression models were fit to estimate the association between sexual orientation and mental disorder diagnoses, frequent mental distress, and stressful life events. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual students were more likely to report any mental health disorder diagnosis than heterosexual students (p<0.05). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and unsure students were more likely to report frequent mental distress compared to heterosexual students (odds ratio range: 1.6-2.7). All sexual minority groups, with the exception of unsure men, had greater odds of experiencing two or more stressful life events (OR range: 1.3-2.8).

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Presented in Session 176: Sexual Orientation and Mental Health Outcomes