Abstract

Most surveys of the prevalence of psychiatric disorders among lesbians and gay men find no increased risk in comparison with heterosexuals. However, the majority of this work has relied on convenience samples drawn from the visible lesbian and gay community. The authors examined differences in 1-year prevalence of six psychiatric syndromes among sexually active individuals in the 1996 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse who reported either exclusive heterosexuality (n = 9,714) or having any same-gender sex partners (n = 194) in the prior year. Although nearly three quarters of homosexually active individuals did not meet criteria for any of the six syndromes assessed, in multivariate logistic regression analyses, homosexually active men were more likely than other men to evidence major depression and panic attack syndromes. In contrast, homosexually active women were more likely than other women to be classified with alcohol or drug dependency syndromes. Both men and women reporting any same-gender sex partners were more likely than others to have used mental health services in the year prior to interview. These findings suggest a small increased risk among homosexually active populations in 1-year psychiatric morbidity and use of mental health care services.Am J Epidemiol 20OO;151:516–23.