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Anxiety, depression, stress significantly higher among bisexual women compared to lesbians

The proportion of serious suicidal ideation and behavior was higher among bisexual women compared to lesbian women. Experiencing anxiety, depression, victimization distress, and family discrimination distress were positively associated with serious suicidal ideation and behavior.

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The mean scores for anxiety, depression, and stress were significantly higher among bisexual women compared to their lesbian counterparts.

This is according to a study – “Protective and Risk Factors for Suicidal Ideation and Behavior Among Sexual Minority Women in the United States: A Cross-Sectional Study” by Emylia Terry, Jennifer R. Pharr, Ravi Batra, and Kavita Batra – that appeared in LGBT Health.

Here, the researchers wanted to understand the factors associated with suicidal ideation and behavior and serious suicidal ideation and behavior among sexual minority women (SMW), including resilience, discrimination, mental health, and sociodemographic characteristics.

They conducted web-based surveys with SMW from across the US during January–February 2022, using psychometric valid tools. Bivariate, hierarchical regression, and logistic regression analyses were used to analyze the data.

The researchers found:

  • Of 497 participants, 70% were identified as bisexual and 30% as lesbian.
  • The mean scores for anxiety, depression, and stress were significantly higher among bisexual women compared to their lesbian counterparts.
  • The proportion of serious suicidal ideation and behavior was higher among bisexual women compared to lesbian women.
  • Conversely, the mean scores of resilience were lower among bisexual women compared to lesbian women. Lesbian women had nearly 57.4% lower odds of having serious suicidal ideation and behavior as compared to bisexual women.
  • Experiencing anxiety, depression, victimization distress, and family discrimination distress were positively associated with serious suicidal ideation and behavior, whereas personal resilience and family cohesion were negatively associated with serious suicidal ideation and behavior.

“Tackling structural inequities, such as racism and homophobia, remains vital to improving the mental health of SMW,” the researchers stressed. As such, “interventions to strengthen social and familial supports may be particularly impactful, especially at the family level.”

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