Sexual orientation, psychological well-being, and mental health : A longitudinal analysis from adolescence to young adulthood

Journal article


Becker, Michael, Cortina, Kai S., Tsai, Yi-Miau and Eccles, Jacquelynne S.. (2014). Sexual orientation, psychological well-being, and mental health : A longitudinal analysis from adolescence to young adulthood. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. 1(2), pp. 132-145. https://doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000038
AuthorsBecker, Michael, Cortina, Kai S., Tsai, Yi-Miau and Eccles, Jacquelynne S.
Abstract

In the past, mainly cross-sectional research has shown that nonheterosexuals report lower levels of psychological well-being and functioning than heterosexuals. Drawing on minority stress theory (Meyer, 2003), life span theory, and identity formation theory (Erikson, 1968), the present study analyzed developmental trajectories in psychological functioning from adolescence to young adulthood in nonheterosexual and heterosexual populations. Based on data from the Michigan Study of Adolescent and Adult Life Transitions (MSALT), nonheterosexual adolescents and young adults were compared with their heterosexual peers regarding their psychological development from the ages of 16 to 28. Overall levels of depressive affect, suicidal ideation, alcohol consumption, and social alienation were elevated for nonheterosexual young adolescents. For depressive affect and social alienation as well as suicidal ideation, the 2 groups grew apart during their high-school years but converged after leaving high school. For alcohol consumption, a divergent trend emerged after high school. No differences were found for self-esteem. None of the interactions between sexual orientation and gender reached statistical significance. The results point toward a higher degree of complexity in developmental patterns compared with results of previous studies. The study underscores the nonstatic nature of mental health disparities and highlights the potential and the need to prevent psychological maladjustment for nonheterosexual populations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Keywordssexual orientation; psychological well-being; mental health; longitudinal study
Year2014
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
Journal citation1 (2), pp. 132-145
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association Inc.
ISSN2329-0382
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000038
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84989258549
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range132-145
Publisher's version
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All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online2014
Publication process dates
Accepted29 Apr 2014
Deposited18 Aug 2021
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