Lifestyle Health and Wellbeing 10 Feb 2017 Sexual orientation p ...

Sexual orientation poses no risk to mental health: study

PTI
Published Feb 10, 2017, 1:23 pm IST
Updated Feb 10, 2017, 1:24 pm IST
This challenges the common perception that homosexual and bisexual people are at risk of poor mental health and suicide.
Homosexuality is not a mental health risk, experts claim. (Representational Image)
 Homosexuality is not a mental health risk, experts claim. (Representational Image)

Melbourne: Sexual orientation is not a major risk for long-term mental health problems, according to a new study that challenges the common perception that homosexual and bisexual people are at risk of poor mental health and suicide.

"Childhood sexual trauma, risky health behaviours, smoking, a lack of positive support and negative social interactions pose more of a risk for people's mental health than their sexual orientation," said lead researcher Richard Burns from Australian National University (ANU). He said homosexual and bisexual people were more likely to experience these mental health risk factors than heterosexual people.

 

The study followed about 5,000 adults over eight years as part of the Personality and Total Health Through Life Project. "Initially, we found there was a long-term risk for depression and anxiety among individuals with a bisexual orientation, and there was long-term risk for anxiety amongst homosexual individuals. But when we adjusted for these other mental health risk factors, we found no major risk associated with sexual orientation itself," said Burns.

"We concluded that all things being equal that there is no particular mental health risk for people with a homosexual or bisexual orientation," he said. "Our findings emphasise the importance of using longitudinal data to estimate long-term mental health risk associated with sexual orientation," he added.

 

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