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J Adolesc Health. 2013 Nov;53(5):671-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.07.023. Epub 2013 Sep 13.

Does "it get better" for depressed sexual minority youth in young adulthood?

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Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. Electronic address:



To examine depressive symptoms and suicidality in adolescence and adulthood in a sample of depressed adolescents in five sexual identity groups (heterosexual, mostly heterosexual, bisexual, mostly gay, and gay).


Depressed adolescents (N = 1,591) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were examined again in young adulthood.


Paired t-tests revealed that depressive symptoms declined significantly in all five sexual identity groups. McNemar chi-square tests revealed that the percentage of participants reporting suicidal ideation decreased significantly in all groups except for the mostly gay group. The percentage of participants reporting suicide attempts declined in all groups except the bisexual group.


Within-group differences are important to consider in delivering effective mental health services. Although depressive symptoms diminished in young adulthood in all groups, suicidality did not. Mostly gay and bisexual young adults did not report the same significant declines as their peers.


Bisexual; Depression; Gay; Homosexuality; Lesbian; Sexual minority; Suicide

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