Depression risk for homosexual, bisexual students

A survey of Newcastle University students shows homosexual and bisexual students are at much greater risk of depression and binge drinking.

Researchers surveyed more than 6,000 students in 2010 measuring risk factors for anxiety, depression, eating disorders and unsafe drinking levels.

They looked at socioeconomic status, if a student came from overseas, as well as differentiating between men and women.

Associate Professor Kyp Kypri says there was also a focus on homosexual and bisexual students.

“You had twice the odds of depression if your were homosexual, and nearly three times the odds if you were bisexual,” he said.

“You had roughly two times the odds of anxiety for both homosexual and bisexual students, and 50 per cent higher odds of eating disorders and also higher levels of harmful drinking, and so our bottom line is that we need to be doing more by way of health promotion.”

Associate Professor Kypri says older women were also at greater risk.

“We found that women had a higher risk of having depression, anxiety and eating disorders relative to men and a lower risk of having harmful drinking,” he said.

“Contrary of what we expected, it wasn’t the youngest students the 17 to 24-year-olds who had the highest prevalence of those disorders and in fact the 25 to 34-year-olds and so a lot of students are bringing more complex lives to their study.”

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