Send to

Choose Destination
Int Rev Psychiatry. 2015;27(5):367-85. doi: 10.3109/09540261.2015.1083949. Epub 2015 Nov 9.

Mental health of sexual minorities. A systematic review.

Author information

a Department of Suicide Prevention , University Clinic of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Institute of Clinical Psychology, Christian Doppler Clinic, Paracelsus Medical University , Salzburg , Austria.
b Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary , Calgary, Alberta , Canada.


Many studies, reviews, and meta-analyses have reported elevated mental health problems for sexual minority (SM) individuals. This systematic review provides an update by including numerous recent studies, and explores whether SM individuals are at increased risk across selected mental health problems as per dimensions of sexual orientation (SO), genders, life-stages, geographic regions, and in higher quality studies. A systematic search in PubMed produced 199 studies appropriate for review. A clear majority of studies reported elevated risks for depression, anxiety, suicide attempts or suicides, and substance-related problems for SM men and women, as adolescents or adults from many geographic regions, and with varied SO dimensions (behaviour, attraction, identity), especially in more recent and higher quality studies. One notable exception is alcohol-related problems, where many studies reported zero or reversed effects, especially for SM men. All SM subgroups were at increased risk, but bisexual individuals were at highest risk in the majority of studies. Other subgroup and gender differences are more complex and are discussed. The review supports the long-standing mental health risk proposition for SM individuals, overall and as subgroups.


Mental health; anxiety; bisexuality; depression; homosexuality; sexual minority; sexual orientation; substance abuse; suicide; systematic review

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center