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Bi people at higher risk for poor mental health outcomes due to ‘double discrimination’ & loneliness

Bisexual individuals are at “higher risk for poor mental health outcomes” due to “double discrimination” and loneliness. This is according to a study that compared the mental health of bisexual men and women to that of gay men, lesbians and heterosexuals.

In “Bisexual-Specific Minority Stressors, Psychological Distress,and Suicidality in Bisexual Individuals: the Mediating Roleof Loneliness”, published by the Society for Prevention Research, Ethan H. Mereish, Sabra L. Katz-Wise and Julie Woulfe engaged with 503 bisexual adults to examine the effects of distal minority stressors (i.e., anti-bisexual experiences from both heterosexual as well as lesbian and gay people) and proximal stressors (i.e., internalized heterosexism and sexual orientation concealment) on their psychological distress and suicidality.

Results indicated that distal and proximal stressors were associated with psychological distress and suicidality and that loneliness significantly mediated these associations. In addition, direct associations were found between distal and proximal minority stressors and loneliness, and between loneliness and poor mental health outcomes.

These findings are said to suggest that “this minority stress pathway is occurring specifically among bisexual individuals potentially as a result of bisexual-specific stressors. For bisexual individuals, experiencing anti-bisexual prejudice, internalized heterosexism, and identity concealment appears to be related to feelings of loneliness and ultimately psychological distress and suicidality.”

Interviewed by NBC News, Mereish, the study’s lead author, was quoted as saying that “bisexual people face double discrimination in multiple settings — bisexual people are often invisible, rejected, invalidated [and] stigmatized in the heterosexual community as well as the traditional LGBTQ communities”. “Given that isolation and discrimination, bi people might be experiencing increase factors that might make them more lonely or isolated.”

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And so for the researchers, “bisexual-specific experiences must be considered independently from the experiences of other sexual minority subgroups to address sexual orientation disparities in mental health.”

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