Menu Close

Health Disparities among Young Adult Sexual Minorities in the U.S.


Strutz, Kelly L.; Herring, Amy H.; & Halpern, Carolyn Tucker (2015). Health Disparities among Young Adult Sexual Minorities in the U.S.. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 48(1), 76-88. PMCID: PMC4274226


Background: Emerging research suggests that young adult sexual minorities (identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual or engaging in same-sex attractions or behaviors) experience poorer health than their majority counterparts, but many measures of health inequity remain unexamined in population-based research. Purpose: To describe a wide range of health status and healthcare access characteristics of sexual minorities in comparison with those of the majority population in a national sample of U.S. young adults.
Methods: Binary and multinomial logistic regression analyses of Wave IV data (2008) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (participants aged 24–32 years, n=13,088) were conducted. Health measures were self-rated health; diagnosis of any of several physical or mental illnesses or sexually transmitted infections; measured BMI; depression classified from self-reported symptoms; use of antidepressant and anxiolytic medication; uninsured; forgone care; and receipt of physical, dental, and psychological services. Analyses were conducted in 2012–2013.
Results: Sexual minority women had elevated odds of most adverse health conditions and lower odds of receiving a physical or dental examination. Sexual minority men had elevated odds of fewer adverse health conditions.
Conclusions: Young adult sexual minorities are at higher risk of poor physical and mental health. The results highlight the multidimensionality of sexual minority status and respond to calls for greater understanding of the health of this population.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Preventive Medicine


Strutz, Kelly L.
Herring, Amy H.
Halpern, Carolyn Tucker