Sexual orientation and depression in Canada

Roger L. Scott, Gerri Lasiuk, Colleen M. Norris


OBJECTIVES: Depression is a global concern and it is well known that certain segments of the population are at greater risk. Sexual minorities are recognized as being more likely to suffer from depression due to social stigma and prejudice. The aim of this study was to describe the relationship between sexual orientation and depression in the Canadian population.

METHODS: The study used the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey – Mental Health data. The sample comprised 24,788 Canadians living in the ten provinces. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the relationship of depression and sexual orientation.

RESULTS: After adjusting for known risk factors for depression, there was no difference in prevalence of past 12-month or lifetime major depressive episode between sexual minorities and heterosexuals. Bisexuals did have a near significant trend towards higher prevalence of both past 12-month and lifetime depression as a combined group, but there were not clear differences when stratified by sex.

CONCLUSION: This study supports important emerging trends in the relationship between sexual orientation and depression. Research on the mental health of sexual minority people must take into account differences between sexual minority groups and avoid aggregating mental health disorders into broad categories. These findings have implications for public health planning and clinical recommendations.


Homosexuality; bisexuality; depression; mental health; quantitative evaluation

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