INFAD (2020-06-01)

Sexual orientation and mental health among Spanish college students

  • Estefanía Ruíz Palomino,
  • Rafael Ballester Arnal,
  • Mª Dolores Gil Llario,
  • Cristina Giménez García,
  • Juan Enrique Nebot García

DOI
https://doi.org/10.17060/ijodaep.2020.n1.v1.1776
Journal volume & issue
Vol. 1, no. 1
pp. 199 – 206

Abstract

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Sexual minorities have a worse perception of their mental health status and look for more psychological treatment. Studies show that they have a higher prevalence of psychological problems, mainly anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation or substance abuse. The aim of the study is to analyze the relationship between different parameters of mental health and sexual orientation. A Lifestyle and Health Questionnaire (Giménez-García Ballester-Arnal, 2017) was administered to 600 students from the Universitat Jaume I of Castellón. The 67.5% of the participants identified themselves as exclusively heterosexual (75.3% of males and 59.7% of females) and 32.5% of them as not exclusively heterosexual (24.7% of males and 40.3% females). The results show that there is a statistically significant relationship between sexual orientation and self-perceived mental health status (Chi2 = 19.018; p =.001; V: 0.178), self reported psychological problems (Chi2 = 11.392; p = .001; OR: 3.194) and anxiety (Chi2 = 12.917; p =.005; V:0.147). Non-exclusively heterosexual people consider worse their mental health status, have reported more psychological problems and feel more anxious. According to gender, statistically significant relationships appear in self-perceived mental health status (Chi2 = 17.860; p = .001; V: 0.244) and self-reported psychological problems (Chi2 = 9.520; p = .002; OR: 5.886) in males, and in perceived anxiety in females (Chi2 = 13.091; p = .004; V: .210). In both cases, the non-exclusively heterosexual group obtain worst results. People with a non-heterosexual orientation are a group at psychosocial risk, perhaps due to the psychological distress associated with experiencing stressful life experiences and discrimination associated with homophobia and biphobia. Implications for the universities are discussed.

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