NEW YORK — A new study published this week in the American Journal of Public Health reports that LGB Canadians experience more mood and anxiety disorders than their straight counterparts and are more likely to turn to heavy drinking.
The study, billed as the first of its kind in Canada, says that bi participants reported the highest level of anxiety and drinking.
“Often gay, lesbian and bisexual people are grouped together in studies, but we found there are important differences in their reported health,” said Basia Pakula, a Ph.D. candidate in the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health who led the study. “These findings are extremely useful because this information has not been available for us in Canada until now.”
The findings come from more than 220,000 Canadians who participated in the Canadian Community Health Survey between 2007 and 2012. The study found that gay and lesbian Canadians reported about twice the rates of anxiety and mood disorders compared to heterosexual Canadians. For bisexual Canadians, the rates were nearly four times those of heterosexuals and approximately twice the rates of gay or lesbian respondents.
The researchers say the study’s findings can be used to plan and allocate resources for health services that better respond to the issues facing these groups.
While this study did not look at the causes of anxiety and mood disorders in this population, an extensive body of research suggests LGB people experience chronic stress related to prejudice and stigma, Pakula said.