Discrimination experienced by sexual minority males in Australia: Associations with suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms

K. Balakrishnan, T. Haregu, A. O. Hill, J. T. Young, G. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Discrimination has been under-examined as a social determinant of the higher rates of poor mental health experienced by sexual minorities. The objectives of our study were to: 1) assess whether discrimination was independently associated with poor mental health among sexual minority males, and 2) assess the potential mediation role of discrimination in the associations between sexual minority status and poor mental health. Methods: We used cross-sectional data on 13,230 males aged 18–55 years from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health; bisexual and homosexual males comprised 1.5% and 1.6% of the sample, respectively. We fit Poisson regression and zero-inflated negative binomial regression models to examine suicidality, depressive symptoms and perceived discrimination in the past two years as correlates of suicidality and depressive symptoms. Results: Statistically significant differences were observed in the prevalence of perceived discrimination by sexual orientation (p < 0.001), with the highest prevalence among bisexual (29.3%) and homosexual (40.4%) males, and the lowest prevalence among heterosexual males (18.6%). After adjusting for confounding, bisexual/homosexual males had higher rates of perceived discrimination (IRR = 1.88, p < 0.001), recent suicidal ideation (IRR = 1.51, p = 0.008), lifetime suicide attempt (IRR = 2.09, p < 0.001) and recent depressive symptoms (IRR = 1.34, p < 0.001) than heterosexual males. Analysis of β-coefficients suggested that discrimination may mediate a small to moderate proportion of the association between sexual minority status and poor mental health. Limitations: Use of cross-sectional data. Conclusion: Poor mental health is more common among sexual minority males, and discrimination may be a contributor to these mental health disparities. Reducing discrimination should be considered as part of a strategy to improve the mental wellbeing of sexual minority males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-178
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume305
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2022

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