LGBT Health: Discrimination and depression
Research often finds that LGBT adolescents experience greater mental health problems, such as depression, compared to their heterosexual peers. Many psychologists suggest these disparities likely result from the stress associated with being a sexual minority. A new study involving Boston high school students provides evidence to support this idea. Consistent with previous research, the LGBT adolescents in this study reported more psychological distress compared to their heterosexual peers. Importantly, however, the researchers also found that the difference in psychological distress reported by LGBT vs. heterosexual youth was mediated (that is, could be accounted for) by the stress associated with facing discrimination based on sexual orientation. In other words, these findings suggest that LGBT youth are more likely to experience symptoms of depression compared to their straight peers because they face the added strain of being the target of prejudice and discrimination based on their sexuality.