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You are here: Home / MPRC People / Jessica N Fish, Ph.D. / Jessica N Fish Publications / Reconsidering Approaches to Estimating Health Disparities Across Multiple Measures of Sexual Orientation

Jessica N Fish and Evan A Krueger (In press)

Reconsidering Approaches to Estimating Health Disparities Across Multiple Measures of Sexual Orientation

LGBT Health.

Purpose: We propose a new theoretically grounded approach for estimating sexual orientation-related health risk that accounts for the unique and shared variance of sexual identity across other measures of sexual orientation (i.e., attraction and behavior). We argue and illustrate that this approach provides specificity not demonstrated by approaches that independently estimate and compare health risk based on sexual identity, attraction, and behavior.

Methods: Data were from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III, collected in 2012–2013 (N = 36,309, ages 18 and older). The Karlson-Holm-Breen method tested the degree to which attraction- and behavior-based disparities in mental health and substance use disorders change after adjusting for sexual identity.

Results: Sexual attraction- and behavior-based disparities in mental health and substance use disorders statistically varied when comparing models that did and did not adjust for sexual identity. Adjusting for sexual identity appeared to have a larger influence on attraction- and behavior-based health associations among men; sexual minority and majority differences were attenuated on nearly every outcome after adjusting for sexual identity. This attenuation was less common among women. Among women, some behavior-based disparities were wider in sexual identity-adjusted models relative to unadjusted models.

Conclusion: We demonstrate more accurate approaches to capturing and comparing sexual orientation-related health disparities across multiple measures of sexual orientation, which account for the shared variance between sexual identity and measures of attraction and behavior. Adjusted estimates provide more specificity regarding relative health risk across specific subgroups of sexual minority people, and the intervention and prevention strategies needed to address them.

Gender, Sexual Minority, Sexual and gender minority, Fish, Health Disparities, Gender, Family, and Social Change, Health, LGBTQ, Health in Social Contexts
Mental Health, Sexual Minority, LGBT, Health Disparities, Substance Use
First published online: April 21st, 2020

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