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Inequalities in mental health, self-rated health, and social support among sexual minority young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic: analyses from the UK Millennium Cohort Study

Bécares, Laia; Kneale, Dylan; (2022) Inequalities in mental health, self-rated health, and social support among sexual minority young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic: analyses from the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 10.1007/s00127-022-02291-1. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

PURPOSE: Young adults who self-identify as a sexual minority may have been particularly harmed by the consequences of lockdown, closure of educational institutions, and social distancing measures as they are likely to have been confined in households that may not be supportive of their sexual orientation. We examine inequalities in the mental health and self-rated health of sexual minority young adults, compared to their heterosexual peers, at the height of lockdown restrictions in the UK. METHODS: We analysed data from singletons who participated in waves 6, 7, and the wave 1 COVID-19 survey (n = 2211) of the Millennium Cohort Study, a nationally representative longitudinal study of infants born in the UK between September 2000 and January 2002. Regression models compared the mental health, self-rated health, and social support of sexual minority young adults to that of their heterosexual peers. RESULTS: One in four young adults self-identified with a sexual orientation or attraction other than completely heterosexual. Sexual minority young adults had significantly lower levels of social support (β =  - 0.38, SE 0.08), poorer self-rated health (OR 3.91, 95% CI 2.41-6.34), and higher levels of psychological distress (β = 2.26, SE 0.34), anxiety (β = 0.40, SE 0.15), and loneliness (β = 0.66, SE 0.18) when compared to heterosexual young adults. CONCLUSIONS: Sexual minority young adults in the UK have been detrimentally impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, experiencing inequalities in mental health, self-rated health, and social support when compared to heterosexual young adults. Implications for policy and practice include a stronger provision of safe spaces in the community and in institutions, and policies that address marginalisation and harassment.

Type: Article
Title: Inequalities in mental health, self-rated health, and social support among sexual minority young adults during the COVID-19 pandemic: analyses from the UK Millennium Cohort Study
Location: Germany
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s00127-022-02291-1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-022-02291-1
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Coronavirus pandemic, Mental health, Self-rated health, Sexual minority, Social support
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10148407
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