Minority stressors, traumatic events, and associations with mental health and school climate among gender and sexuality diverse young people in Australia: Findings from a nationally representative cohort study

Sasha Bailey, Nicola Newton, Yael Perry, Cristyn Davies, Ashleigh Lin, Jennifer L. Marino, Rachel S. Skinner, Lucinda Grummitt, Emma Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Population-level, nationally representative data on the prevalence of minority stressors and traumatic events, mental ill-health effects, and the preventative utility of school climate, among gender and sexuality diverse young people in Australia, is significantly lacking. In this study, we estimated the prevalence and distribution of minority stressors and traumatic events among young people by sexuality identity (gay/lesbian, bisexual, other sexuality, heterosexual), sexuality diversity (sexuality diverse, not sexuality diverse), and gender identity (transgender, cisgender) and assessed associations with mental ill-health and the moderating role of school climate factors. Methods: Using Wave 8 (2018) follow-up data from a population-level, nationally representative longitudinal cohort study, the sample comprised 3037 young people aged 17–19 years in Australia. Prevalence ratios for minority stressors and traumatic events were calculated for gender and sexuality diverse categories using logistic regression models. Linear regression models were used to test associations between traumatic events and minority stressors, and mental ill-health. Multivariate linear regression tested school climate factors as effect modifier between minority stressors and mental ill-health among sexuality diverse young people. Results: Rates of traumatic events and minority stressors were highest among bisexual and gay/lesbian young people and were significantly associated with mental ill-health among all gender and sexuality diverse young people. Highest mental ill-health effects were observed among trans young people. Among sexuality diverse young people, positive and negative feelings toward school climate were associated with decreased and increased mental ill-health, respectively. After accounting for sexuality diversity, positive overall school climate appeared protective of mental ill-health effects of sexuality-based discrimination. Discussion: Minority stressors, traumatic events, and associated mental ill-health are prevalent among gender and sexuality diverse young people in Australia, especially trans, bisexual, and gay/lesbian young people. Promotion of affirmative, safe, and inclusive school climate demonstrates significant promise for the prevention and early intervention of mental ill-health among gender and sexuality diverse young people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-290
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume96
Issue number2
Early online date29 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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