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      Differences in Sexual Identity Dimensions between Bisexual and Other Sexual Minority Individuals: Implications for Minority Stress and Mental Health

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          Abstract

          Bisexual individuals experience poorer mental health than other sexual minority individuals. One explanation for this is that biphobia predisposes bisexual individuals to have a more ambiguous sexual identity and fewer opportunities for stress-ameliorating forms of coping and support. This study explores sexual identity and sexual identity dimensions—prominence, valence, integration, and complexity—in bisexual and other sexual minority individuals. We describe differences in sexual identity dimensions between bisexual and other sexual minority individuals and test two explanations for mental health disparities between them: whether sexual identity dimensions directly impact mental health and whether they moderate the impact of stress on mental health. Data came from a longitudinal study of a diverse sample of sexual minority individuals ( N = 396, 71 bisexual respondents) sampled from community venues in New York City. Sexual identity was prominent for both bisexual and other sexual minority individuals, but bisexual individuals reported lower valence and integration of sexual identity in their identity structures. The hypothesis that sexual identity dimensions moderate the impact of minority stress on mental health was not supported. Following several longitudinal assessments, however, we concluded that identity valence (but not integration or complexity) and depressive symptoms were bi-directionally associated so that differences in valence between bisexual and other sexual minority individuals explained, in part, disparities in depressive symptoms.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          0400640
          446
          Am J Orthopsychiatry
          Am J Orthopsychiatry
          The American journal of orthopsychiatry
          0002-9432
          1939-0025
          16 September 2018
          27 December 2018
          2019
          01 January 2020
          : 89
          : 1
          : 40-51
          Affiliations
          [1 ]Department of Sociology and Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS), University of Groningen, Grote Rozenstraat 31, 9712 TG, Groningen, The Netherlands. Electronic c.la.roi@ 123456rug.nl . Telephone: +31503638938
          [2 ]The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, University of California in Los Angeles, 385 Charles E. Young Dr. East, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, United States of America. Electronic meyer@ 123456law.ucla.edu . Telephone (department): (310) 825-4841
          [3 ]Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education, University College London, 27-28 Woburn Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0AA, United Kingdom. Electronic d.frost@ 123456ucl.ac.uk . Telephone (department): +44 (0)20 7612 6957.
          Article
          PMC6322952 PMC6322952 6322952 nihpa988721
          10.1037/ort0000369
          6322952
          30589343
          4680585b-8e24-4705-9410-8aecdc453006
          History
          Categories
          Article

          Bisexuality,Sexual identity,Depressive symptoms,Mental health,Minority stress

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