Discrimination as a predictor of poor mental health among LGBTQ+ people during the COVID-19 pandemic: Cross-sectional analysis of the online Queerantine study

Dylan Kneale, Laia Bécares*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives To assess the mental health and experiences of discrimination among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) people at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Design Data come from a cross-sectional online survey targeted at LGBTQ+ people, which collected data on mental health, experiences of discrimination and a number of other pandemic-related experiences. To examine the association between sexual orientation and gender and mental health and experiences of discrimination, we conducted regression analyses that adjusted for a range of sociodemographic variables. Setting A web-based survey was used to collect data between the end of April and mid July 2020. Participants An analytical sample of 310 LGBTQ+ respondents aged 18 and above. Main outcome measures We assessed mental health with the 4-item Perceived Stress Scale and with the 10-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D-10). We asked respondents about discriminatory experiences because of their LGBTQ+ identity during the coronavirus pandemic. Results Perceived stress scores among our LGBTQ+ sample were high (mean: 7.67; SD: 3.22). Based on a score of 10 or more on the CES-D-10, the majority of participants had high levels of depressive symptoms (72%). Around one-in-six respondents reported some form of discrimination since the start of the pandemic because they were LGBTQ+ (16.7%). The average score for perceived stress increased by 1.44 points (95% CI 0.517 to 2.354) for respondents who had experienced discrimination versus those who had not. Similarly, the odds of exhibiting significant depressive symptomology increased threefold among those who had experienced discrimination compared with those who had not (OR: 3.251; 95% CI 1.168 to 9.052). Conclusions The LGBTQ+ community exhibited high levels of depression, stress and experienced discrimination during the coronavirus pandemic. High levels of poor mental health were partially explained by experiences of discrimination, which had a large, consistent and pernicious impact on mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere049405
JournalBMJ Open
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • mental health
  • social medicine

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