LGBTQ+ wellbeing inequalities in early to center adolescence


LGBTQ+ adolescents are extra probably than their heterosexual and cisgender friends to expertise widespread psychological well being difficulties (Amos et al., 2020; Rogers & Taliaferro, 2020). A theoretical framework proposed to elucidate that is the minority stress concept, which means that LGBTQ+ people expertise worse psychological well being as a response to persistent stress triggered by experiences of prejudice, identification concealment, and internalising queerphobia (Bränstörm, 2017; Weeks et al., 2023).

Nevertheless, earlier analysis on this space has many limitations. First, wellbeing is usually used interchangeably with psychological well being when extra exact frameworks of wellbeing have been proposed. The reviewed paper utilized three totally different approaches to understanding wellbeing:

  • The hedonic strategy (additionally known as subjective wellbeing), comprising have an effect on and life satisfaction.
  • The eudaimonic strategy, which emphasises a complete psychological state, together with optimism and shallowness.
  • The full state strategy, which focuses on the steadiness between wellness and misery.

Different weaknesses of this analysis space are that research have extra typically targeted on sexual orientation than gender identification, and research on gender identification have regularly made binary comparisons of cisgender versus transgender people. Marquez and colleagues (2023) sought to handle this by analysing knowledge on sexuality and gender, in addition to knowledge on gender identification past the binary, within the context of those three wellbeing frameworks.

Previous research has highlighted inequalities in LGBTQ+ mental health, but less is known about comprehensive wellbeing inequalities (i.e., wellbeing defined and measured across its multiple domains, including positive affect, self-esteem, and life satisfaction).

Earlier analysis has highlighted inequalities in LGBTQ+ psychological well being, however much less is understood about complete wellbeing inequalities (i.e., wellbeing outlined and measured throughout its a number of domains, together with constructive have an effect on, shallowness, and life satisfaction).


The research used cross-sectional survey knowledge from 37,978 adolescents drawn from the #BeeWell research – a cohort of 12-to-15-year-olds from 165 secondary faculties in Better Manchester. The authors estimated the distinction in wellbeing in accordance with every framework (hedonic, eudaimonic, full state) between sexual minority teams and heterosexual adolescents as a reference, in addition to deprived gender teams and boys (together with transgender boys) as a reference. They individually examined whether or not a gender modality (cisgender vs transgender) categorisation modified the outcomes. Lastly, they managed for age/12 months group, eligibility without spending a dime college meals up to now 6 months, particular instructional wants (SEN), and ethnicity.

The authors estimated two structural correlated elements fashions (A and B) for every of the three totally different wellbeing frameworks (hedonic, eudaimonic, full state). Mannequin A included a gender identification variable (boy, lady, non-binary, different gender, choose to not say gender), whereas Mannequin B included a gender modality variable (cisgender vs transgender). In all of the fashions, a deprived group was in comparison with a reference group (e.g., homosexual/lesbian to heterosexual; SEN to no SEN; non-binary to boy; transgender to cisgender). These fashions had been interpreted whereby wellbeing scores in an LGBTQ+ identification group had been in comparison with that in a reference group.


Pattern traits

  • The pattern was made up of 51.5% Yr 8 pupils (age 12-13) and 48.5% Yr 10 pupils (age 14-15).
  • With reference to gender, 41.7% of the pattern recognized as boys (together with trans boys), 40% as women (together with trans women), 2.4% as non-binary, 2.8% described themselves in one other manner, and 5.3% most well-liked to not say. Trans youth made up 7.1% of the pattern.
  • With reference to sexual identification, 2.7% recognized as homosexual/lesbian, 7.7% as bi/pansexual, and three.7% described themselves in one other manner.
  • With reference to race and ethnicity, of all of the adolescents, 18.1% had been Asian, 5.5% Black, 0.8% Chinese language, 5.9% combined race, and a couple of.3% of different ethnicity.
  • Lastly, 14.2% had particular instructional wants and 25.4% had been eligible without spending a dime college meals.

Fundamental findings

All fashions demonstrated constant inequalities in adolescent wellbeing throughout sexual and gender identities, when controlling for all of the covariates:

  • In comparison with boys, non-binary adolescents, adolescents figuring out with one other gender, and adolescents preferring to not share their gender had decrease wellbeing scores.
  • In comparison with heterosexual adolescents, bisexual/pansexual, homosexual/lesbian, adolescents figuring out with one other sexuality, and adolescents preferring to not share their sexuality had decrease wellbeing scores.
  • In comparison with cisgender adolescents, transgender adolescents had decrease wellbeing scores.

The comparability of gender identification categorisation to gender modality (cisgender vs transgender) categorisation revealed no substantial variations within the outcomes. Lastly, this sample of outcomes was constant throughout the wellbeing frameworks of hedonic, eudaimonic and full state wellbeing.

The biggest gender inequality in all fashions involved the distinction between non-binary adolescents and boys (together with trans boys). The biggest sexual identification inequality in all fashions involved the distinction between homosexual/lesbian and heterosexual adolescents, however the distinction between bisexual/pansexual and heterosexual adolescents adopted carefully behind when it comes to impact sizes. See Desk 1 for particulars and impact sizes.

In comparison with inequalities pertaining to ethnicity, socio-economic drawback, age, and particular instructional wants, the inequalities regarding gender and sexual identification had been larger.

Desk 1. Adjusted Coefficients for Gender and Sexual Identities Predicting Wellbeing

Be aware: Adjusted B for categorical predictors represents the log of the chances ratio, which compares scores for people in a single group to a reference group. x Mannequin B refers to fashions the place gender modality (cisgender vs transgender) was included as a variable instead of gender identification (boy, lady, non-binary, different gender, choose to not say gender), which was used for Mannequin A. * p < .001

Wellbeing scores were lower for LGBTQ+ adolescents across all different frameworks of wellbeing, when controlling for age, socio-economic status, special educational needs, and ethnicity.

Wellbeing scores had been decrease for LGBTQ+ adolescents throughout all totally different frameworks of wellbeing, when controlling for age, socio-economic standing, particular instructional wants, and ethnicity.


Throughout totally different wellbeing frameworks, together with subjective wellbeing (hedonic), psychological state wellbeing (eudaimonic) and full state wellbeing, LGBTQ+ adolescents skilled worse outcomes than heterosexual and cisgender adolescents, even when controlling for age, socio-economic standing, particular instructional wants, and ethnicity.

The inequalities regarding LGBTQ+ youngsters had been larger than any inequalities associated to those covariates. As such, bettering the wellbeing and prevention of poor outcomes in LGBTQ+ adolescents ought to be prioritised inside adolescent wellbeing interventions.

There is clear evidence of inequalities regarding sexuality and gender identity in early to middle adolescence and urgent interventions are needed.

There may be clear proof of inequalities concerning sexuality and gender identification in early to center adolescence and pressing interventions are wanted.

Strengths and limitations


This research has a massive pattern measurement that represents a significant native authority within the UK and seems to match the socio-demographic traits on the nationwide degree, the place comparability knowledge is out there, when it comes to the gender and ethnic make-up. The #BeeWell research includes varied college sorts, together with mainstream faculties, particular faculties, impartial faculties and extra. Better Manchester covers city in addition to suburban and rural areas, subsequently the research is extra generalisable to the nationwide degree of the UK. One other power is the co-production of the research, because the surveys had been co-created with 150 younger individuals from 14 faculties.

On a methodological degree, the research improves on the previous analysis on LGBTQ+ adolescents’ wellbeing by taking a complete strategy to wellbeing. Earlier research (see Plöderl & Tremblay, 2015) typically targeted on psychological well being signs, subsequently tapping into the whole state framework of wellbeing, however didn’t discover the opposite theoretical frameworks of wellbeing in massive samples, such because the hedonic and the eudaimonic approaches, which Marquez and colleagues did discover. These frameworks take into accounts points of wellbeing past signs of misery that are necessary for psychological improvement, resilience, and profitable functioning (e.g., life satisfaction, shallowness, constructive relationships). Due to this fact, the present findings emphasise that LGBTQ+ adolescents’ inequalities in wellbeing pertain to a complete vary of wellbeing indices.


With reference to the restrictions, one weak spot of the research is the cross-sectional knowledge, which leaves us unable to conclude whether or not the inequalities are sustained throughout time. Its validity could be improved if wellbeing was investigated throughout two or extra time factors. The continual funding and knowledge assortment for the #BeeWell research, nonetheless, reveals promise for future analysis assessing the analysis questions of this paper in a longitudinal design.

Moreover, the research doesn’t examine mechanisms behind the inequalities, subsequently it’s restricted in supporting the minority stress concept and informing particular interventions to stop the inequalities. As such, future analysis from the #BeeWell research (in addition to different cohorts) ought to prioritise taking a look at massive samples longitudinally to check causal pathways underlying LGBTQ+ wellbeing inequalities, reminiscent of elements mediating decrease in addition to larger wellbeing.

Lastly, the present research assessed younger individuals in early to center adolescence, however ranges of psychological well being difficulties proceed to rise additional into late adolescence (WHO, 2021) and plenty of extra adolescents may come out as LGBTQ+ at a barely older age than 12 to fifteen years outdated. As such, future research ought to take into account together with adolescents throughout the developmental interval.

This study has many strengths, including sample size and precision in measurement, but future research would benefit from a longitudinal approach and including older adolescents.

This research has many strengths, together with pattern measurement and precision in measurement, however future analysis would profit from a longitudinal strategy and together with older adolescents.

Implications for observe

Future analysis ought to assess the mechanisms underlying the LGBTQ+ adolescents’ wellbeing inequalities to elucidate what points of being LGBTQ+ contribute to poorer wellbeing, in order that interventions might be designed to handle these.

Data on the mechanisms would permit policymakers and training practitioners alike to create practices that assist LGBTQ+ youngsters on totally different ranges. For instance, if familial rejection and/or lack of assist is a matter, then faculties and group organisations may assist mother and father in turning into higher outfitted to positively assist their kids popping out as LGBTQ+. An understanding of whether or not faculties being inclusive and efficient at stopping bullying of LGBTQ+ pupils may assist funding for LGBTQ+ training, whether or not that be via guaranteeing extra LGBTQ+ inclusivity in private, social, well being and financial training (PSHE) and different curricula, or constructing capability of instructional non-governmental organisations, reminiscent of Simply Like Us to assist extra faculties throughout the UK.

Nevertheless, the truth that this paper doesn’t uncover the mechanisms shouldn’t cease interventions from being put in place urgently, while extra analysis is carried out.

Due to this fact, within the meantime, efforts ought to be made to make faculties extra inclusive, such because the aforementioned inclusive training practices and funding of organisations reminiscent of Simply Like Us. One other worthwhile strategy to handle these inequalities could be efforts to practice academics, each new and outdated, to be outfitted to assist LGBTQ+ college students in a pastoral capability.

Once I was a queer secondary college pupil in Essex within the early 2010s, I don’t recall talking to any academics about mine, their, or anybody else’s LGBTQ+ identification. Identification being a taboo made me really feel like this was part of me that was not applicable, subsequently shameful. It additionally meant that I didn’t really feel snug to boost homophobic bullying up with any academics. The academics have to be knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ identities and the difficulties confronted by LGBTQ+ younger individuals, reminiscent of microaggressions, gender dysphoria, transphobia within the media, or unavailability of gender affirming care for many under-18s within the NHS.

Moreover, psychological assist in Baby and Adolescent Psychological Well being providers ought to be LGBTQ+ inclusive and obtainable inside affordable wait occasions. Like many different younger individuals, I used to be not capable of entry LGBTQ+ affirmative remedy till my 20s and I’m certain that I’d have wanted much less assist had it been offered within the earlier levels of my wellbeing declining.

Large scale research needs to investigate mechanisms underlying LGBTQ+ wellbeing inequalities, but in the meantime, we should already be intervening to support LGBTQ+ adolescents in schools and in mental health services.

Giant scale analysis wants to research mechanisms underlying LGBTQ+ wellbeing inequalities, however within the meantime, we should always already be intervening to assist LGBTQ+ adolescents in faculties and in psychological well being providers.

Assertion of pursuits

I’ve up to now volunteered with the charity that I point out within the implications of this analysis: Simply Like Us.

Simply Like Us gives assist and talks to secondary faculties solely on LGBTQ+ inclusivity and rising up LGBTQ+, subsequently I consider its exercise at a big scale is indispensable for addressing the LGBTQ+ adolescents’ wellbeing inequalities. I exploit it for instance of an organisation, nonetheless any organisation with related missions and providers ought to be supported within the efforts to handle this concern.


Major paper

Marquez, J., Humphrey, N., Black, L., Cutts, M., & Khanna, D. (2023). Gender and sexual identity-based inequalities in adolescent wellbeing: findings from the #BeeWell Research. BMC Public Well being, 23(1), 2211.

Different references

Amos, R., Manalastas, E. J., White, R., Bos, H., & Patalay, P. (2020). Psychological well being, social adversity, and health-related outcomes in sexual minority adolescents: a recent nationwide cohort research. The Lancet Baby & Adolescent Well being, 4(1), 36-45.

Bränström, R. (2017). Minority stress elements as mediators of sexual orientation disparities in psychological well being therapy: a longitudinal population-based researchJ Epidemiol Neighborhood Well being.

Simply Like Us. (n.d.). Who We Are. Retrieved January 4, 2024.

Psychological well being of adolescents. (2021, November 17). World Well being Organisation.

Plöderl, M., & Tremblay, P. (2015). Psychological well being of sexual minorities. A scientific evaluation. Worldwide Evaluation of Psychiatry, 27(5), 367-385.

Rogers, M. L., & Taliaferro, L. A. (2020). Self-injurious ideas and behaviors amongst sexual and gender minority youth: a scientific evaluation of current analysis. Present Sexual Well being Experiences, 12, 335-350.

Weeks, S. N., Renshaw, T. L., & Vinal, S. A. (2023). Minority stress as a multidimensional predictor of LGB+ adolescents’ psychological well being outcomes. Journal of Homosexuality, 70(5), 938-962.

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