Online Program

Exploring Intersectionality with Gender Identity and Race on Depression and Attempted Suicide Among LGBTQ College Students

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:43 a.m.

Michael Woodford, PhD, Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work, Wifrid Laurier University, Faculty of Social Work, Kitchener, ON, Canada
Brandy Sinco, MS, School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Kevin Goodman, PhD (Cand.), Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Jill Chonody, PhD, College of Health and Human Services, Indiana University Northwest, Gary, IN
Kristen Renn, PhD, Higher, Adult, & Lifelong Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Beth Glover Reed, Social Work and Women's Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
José Arturo Bauermeister, MPH, PhD, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Jun Sung Hong, PhD, School of Social Work, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Background: Research demonstrates that LGBTQ status is a risk factor for mental health problems. Intersectionality theory suggests that multiple social locations may be salient factors among LGBTQ people, although few studies have considered these intersections. We examine the role of gender, race/ethnicity, and LGBTQ-identity factors among LGBTQ college students’ risk for depression and suicide.

Methods: LGBTQ college students were recruited at a Midwest conference and through online networks to complete a web-survey (n=952).

Logistic regression was used to examine relationships between gender, race/ethnicity, depression and attempted suicide (past year); controls: sexual orientation, socio-economic status, disability, age, social support, LGBTQ-identity variables (outness, saliency, pride, shame) and LGBTQ discrimination (microaggressions, victimization). Analysis was conducted with the full sample and stratified by transgender/cisgender status. Each model tested interactions between race/ethnicity and LGBTQ-identity variables. Monte-Carlo simulation was used to adjust for multiple comparisons.

Results: Among the full sample, transgender status, disability status, and microaggressions were risk factors for depression and suicide attempt, whereas social support and age were protective factors. Several intersectional findings emerged. For example, among transgender students of color, LGBTQ outness was a protective factor in lowering the odds of depression (AOR=0.32, p=.03) and of suicide attempt (AOR=0.20, p=.04). Among non-Hispanic White cisgender students, LGBTQ shame significantly increased depressive symptoms (AOR=1.50, p=.01) and LGBTQ outness significantly reduced the odds of attempted suicide (AOR=0.44, p =.02).

Conclusion: Interventions to reduce depression and suicide among LGBTQ college students must consider the role of intersecting social locations. Implications for practice, policy, and research are discussed.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Biostatistics, economics
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss intersectionality theory and quantitative approaches to intersectional analysis. Describe the role of gender and race/ethnicity on the mental health of LGBTQ college students. Explain the moderating role of LGBTQ-identity factors on the relationship between race/ethnicity on the mental health of LGBTQ college students.

Keyword(s): Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been principal investigator on studies examining risk and protective factors on sexual and gender minority college students’ health, mental health, and academic success.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.