Disparities in Sleep Quality between Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Young Adults: Associations with Sexual Abuse, Perceived Stress, and Depressive Symptoms

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0003-0573-4487
Oh, Sueyoung, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Patterson, Charlotte, Psychology, University of Virginia

Despite growing evidence that disparities in sleep quality exist between sexual minority and heterosexual individuals, few studies have explored the origins of these disparities. This study aimed to identify predictors that may account for sleep disparities between lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) and heterosexual young adults. We hypothesized that sexual abuse in childhood and adulthood, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms would mediate the relationship between sexual minority status and poor sleep quality. Cisgender sexual minority (n = 324) and heterosexual young adults (n = 157) aged from 21 to 34 years in the United States completed an online survey. Sexual minority young adults reported more sexual abuse during childhood and adulthood, higher levels of stress and depressive symptoms, and poorer sleep compared to their heterosexual peers. The results of path analysis indicated that sexual minority status was associated with poor sleep quality both directly and indirectly via sexual abuse, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms. These findings highlight the need for researchers to address the causes of disparities in sleep among sexual minority individuals and the potential for sleep interventions to promote sleep and mental health.

MA (Master of Arts)
sexual minority status, sleep quality, LGB young adults, heterosexual young adults
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