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Sexual orientation differences in psychological treatment outcomes for depression and anxiety: National cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Katharine Amber Rimes, Denisa Ion, Janet Wingrove, Benjamin Richard Carter

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-589
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Volume87
Issue number7
Early online date2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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Abstract

This study investigates whether sexual minority patients have poorer treatment outcomes than heterosexual patients in England's Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. These services provide evidence-based psychological interventions for people with depression or anxiety. Method: National routinely collected data were analyzed for a cohort who had attended at least 2 treatment sessions and were discharged between April 2013-March, 2015. Depression, anxiety and functional impairment were compared for 85,831 women (83,482 [97.2%] heterosexual; 1,285 [1.5%] lesbian; 1,064 [1.2%] bisexual) and 47,092 men (44,969 [95.5%] heterosexual; 1,734 [3.7%] gay; 389 [0.8%] bisexual). Linear and logistic models were fitted adjusting for baseline scores, and sociodemographic and treatment characteristics. Results: Compared to heterosexual women, lesbian and bisexual women had higher final-session severity for depression, anxiety, and functional impairment and increased risk of not attaining reliable recovery in depression/ anxiety or functioning (aORs 1.3-1.4) and reliable improvement in depression/anxiety or functioning (aORs 1.2-1.3). Compared to heterosexual and gay men, bisexual men had higher final-session severity for depression, anxiety, and functioning and increased risk of not attaining reliable recovery for depression/ anxiety or functioning (aORs 1.5-1.7) and reliable improvement in depression/anxiety or functioning (aORs 1.3-1.4). Gay and heterosexual men did not differ on treatment outcomes. Racial minority lesbian/gay or bisexual patients did not have significantly different outcomes to their White lesbian/gay or bisexual counterparts. Conclusions: The reasons for treatment outcome inequities for bisexual patients and lesbian women (e.g., 30-70% increased risk of not recovering) need investigation. Health services should address these inequalities.

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