Global prevalence of major depressive disorder in LGBTQ+ samples: A systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies

Hong Cai, Pan Chen, Qinge Zhang, Mei Ieng Lam, Tong Leong Si, Yu Fei Liu, Wan Ying Zheng, Zhaohui Su, Teris Cheung, Todd Jackson, Gabor S. Ungvari, Zhihong Ren, Xinyue Li, Xiao Hong Li, Yu Tao Xiang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: LGBTQ+ populations have been reported to have higher rates of depression compared with their heterosexual peers. Such data provided us the impetus to conduct a meta-analysis on the worldwide prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) in LGBTQ+ populations and moderating factors that contributed to differences in prevalence estimates between studies. Methods: A systematic literature search was performed in major international (PubMed, PsycINFO, Web of Science, EMBASE) and Chinese (Chinese Nation Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) and WANFANG) databases from dates of inception to 10 December 2021. Results: 48 articles comprising 4,616,903 individuals were included in the meta-analysis. The overall prevalence of MDD was 32.2 % (95%CI: 30.8–33.6 %, I2 = 99.6 %, τ2 = 0.284). MDD prevalence was higher in the LGBTQ+ samples from the United States than other countries, though the difference was not significant in moderator analyses. Moderator analyses indicated point and lifetime prevalence of MDD were significantly higher than estimates based on the past year (Q = 6.270, p = 0.043). Furthermore, studies that relied on convenience sampling had a higher prevalence of MDD than those based on other sampling methods (Q = 8.159, p = 0.017). In meta-regression analyses, mean age (B = 0.03, z = 9.54, p < 0.001) and study quality assessment score (B = 0.24, z = 67.64, p < 0.001) were positively associated with pooled prevalence of MDD while mediation data of year of study (B = -0.08, z = −72.55, p < 0.001) and sample size (B = -1.46, z = −37.83, p < 0.001) were negatively associated with pooled prevalence of MDD in LGBTQ+ samples. Conclusions: MDD is common among in LGBTQ+ individuals. Considering the negative consequences MDD has on daily life and well-being, appropriate prevention and treatment measures should be provided to vulnerable members of these populations. The findings of this meta-analysis could facilitate identifying at-risk subgroups, developing relevant health policy for LGBTQ+ individuals and allocating health resources from an intersectionality perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-258
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date3 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jun 2024


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