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6 December 2010
Prevalence of mental disorders gauged in gay youth
by George Atkinson

One-third of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth have attempted suicide, reveals a new study in the American Journal of Public Health that investigated the frequency of mental disorders in non-heterosexual young people.

The researchers, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, conducted structured psychiatric interviews to assess major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide attempts, and conduct disorder in 16-20 year-old LGBT youths from Chicago

Nearly 10 percent of the study participants met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder and about 15 percent met the criteria for major depression. A third had made a suicide attempt at some point in their life, and about 6 percent had made a suicide attempt in the last year.

"The big question is, are these youth more likely to have mental disorders relative to other kids?" asks researcher Brian Mustanski. "And the answer to that is that it really depends on who you're comparing them to." LGBT youths in the study had a higher prevalence of mental disorders than youths in national samples, but were similar to other samples of urban, racial and ethnic minority youths.

Interestingly, contrary to previous research that suggested that bisexual youth are more likely to have mental disorders than other groups, the researchers found the opposite: bisexual youths had a lower prevalence of mental disorders compared with others in the study.

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Source: University of Illinois at Chicago

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