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239858 Developmental differences in depression by sexual orientation in a sample of 2,555 high school students: Results from the 2007 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey (MYRBS)
Monday, October 31, 2011: 5:15 PM
Background: Lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB) youths have high rates of depression relative to their heterosexual peers; however, developmental differences in the trajectory of depression remain under-investigated relative to sexual orientation disparities. Methods: Data were from the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey (MYRBS) in 2007, with a representative sample of 2,555 high school students (4.8% LGB; 52.5% female; 30.5% racial/ethnic minority; 51.7% underclassmen, grades 9th/10th). Weighted logistic regression models investigated differences in depression in the past 12 months (single item screening question) investigating differences by sexual orientation. Results: Overall, 21.7% of Massachusetts youths sampled screened positive for depression in the past 12 months. In weighted logistic regression models adjusted for demographic covariates and potential confounders (bullying, feeling unsafe at school, binge drinking, regular drug use, family support), LGB youths, compared to heterosexuals, had significantly increased odds of depression in the past 12 months (aOR=4.38; 95% CI=2.76,6.94). Being in grades 11-12, compared to grades 9-10, was also associated with an elevated odds of depression (aOR=1.79; 95% CI=1.24, 2.58) among all students. In analysis stratified by grade level, adjusted odds of depression in LGB youth grades 9 and 10 was 6.07 (95%CI 3.05, 12.07) compared to the adjusted odds 3.13 (95% CI 1.68, 5.85) for youth in grades 11-12. Conclusion: Significant disparities in depression persist for LGB compared to heterosexual youths. Younger LGB youth may experience higher rates of depression than their older LGB counterparts due to lack of support during this critical developmental time. These patterns differ for LGB and heterosexual youth.
Learning Areas:Public health or related research
Keywords: Mental Health, Adolescents
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Associate Research Scientist at the Fenway Institute, Fenway Health in Boston MA. Doctoral Student in Social & Psychiatric Epidemiology, Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA.
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.
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