Disparities in depressive symptoms as a function of sexual orientation have been well documented, but less is known about their origins. This study examines whether, even in adulthood, less favorable parental relationships are associated with disparities in depressive symptoms as a function of sexual orientation. Cross-sectional data were drawn from Wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) participants reported lower quality parental relationships, greater stress, and more depressive symptoms than did heterosexual participants. Lower quality parental relationships were associated with higher stress. Higher stress and lower quality parental relationships were associated with more depressive symptoms. GLB individuals reported lower father relationship quality and higher stress, which partially mediated the association of sexuality and depressive symptoms. Lesbian and bisexual women reported lower mother relationship quality and higher stress, which fully mediated the association of sexuality and depressive symptoms. While no differences in mother relationship quality existed for men, mother relationship quality was more strongly associated with depressive symptoms for gay and bisexual men than for heterosexual men. Even in adulthood, greater stress and depressive symptoms among GLB individuals were at least partially accounted for by less favorable parental relationships.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Gender Studies
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)