Sexual minority status, social adversity and risk for psychotic disorders-results from the GROUP study

GROUP Investigators, D Post*, W Veling

*Corresponding author for this work

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BACKGROUND: Lesbian, bisexual, or gay individuals (LBGs) have an increased risk for mental health problems compared to heterosexuals, but this association has sparsely been investigated for psychotic disorders. The aim of this study was: (1) to examine whether LBG sexual orientation is more prevalent in individuals with a non-affective psychotic disorder (NAPD) than in people without a psychotic disorder; and if so, (2) to explore possible mediating pathways.

METHODS: Sexual orientation was assessed in the 6-year follow-up assessment of the Dutch Genetic Risk and Outcome of Psychosis study (GROUP), a case-control study with 1547 participants (582 patients with psychotic disorder, 604 siblings, and 361 controls). Binary logistic regression analyses were used to calculate the risk of patients with a psychotic disorder being LBG, compared to siblings and controls. Perceived discrimination, history of bullying, childhood trauma (CT), and sexual identity disclosure were investigated as potential mediating variables.

RESULTS: The proportion of individuals with LBG orientation was 6.8% in patients (n = 40), 4.3% in siblings (n = 26), and 2.5% in controls (n = 10). The age- and gender-adjusted odds ratio of LBG for patients was 1.57 (95% CI 1.08-2.27; p = 0.019), compared to siblings and controls. Discrimination, bullying, and CT all partially mediated this association.

CONCLUSIONS: Adverse social experiences related to sexual minority status may increase the risk for NAPD. Sexual identity, behavior, and difficulties need more attention in everyday clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770-776
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date26-Dec-2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2021

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