Sexual Identity Mobility and Depressive Symptoms: A Longitudinal Analysis of Moderating Factors Among Sexual Minority Women

Bethany G. Everett, Amelia E. Talley, Tonda L. Hughes, Sharon C. Wilsnack, Timothy P. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual minority identity (bisexual, lesbian) is a known risk factor for depression in women. This study examined a facet of minority stress prevalent among women—sexual identity mobility—as an identity-related contributor to higher levels of depressive symptoms. We used three waves of data from the Chicago Health and Life Experiences of Women study, a longitudinal study of sexual minority women (N = 306). Random effects OLS regression models were constructed to examine the effect of sexual identity changes on depressive symptoms. We found that 25.6 % of the sample reported a sexual identity change between Wave I and Wave II, and 24.9 % reported a sexual identity change between Waves II and III. Women who reported a change in sexual identity also reported more depressive symptoms subsequent to identity change. This effect was moderated by the number of years participants had reported their baseline identity and by whether the participant had initiated a romantic relationship with a male partner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1731-1744
Number of pages14
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Volume45
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Keywords

  • Bisexual women
  • Depression
  • Identity development
  • Lesbians
  • Sexual identity mobility
  • Sexual orientation

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