The British Journal of Psychiatry

Abstract

Background There is a dearth of research into the mental health of gay men, lesbians and bisexual men and women in the UK.

Aims To assess rates and possible predictors of mental illness in these groups.

Method A comprehensive assessment was made of the psychological and social well-being of a sample of gay men, lesbians and bisexual men and women, identified using ‘snowball’ sampling.

Results Of the 1285 gay, lesbian and bisexual respondents who took part, 556 (43%) had mental disorder as defined by the revised Clinical Interview Schedule (CIS - R). Out of the whole sample, 361 (31%) had attempted suicide. This was associated with markers of discrimination such as recent physical attack (OR=1.7, 95% CI 1.3-2.3) and school bullying (OR=1.4, 95% CI 1.1-2.0), but not with higher scores on the CIS-R.

Conclusions Gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women have high levels of mental disorder, possibly linked with discrimination.

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