Sexual orientation and treatment-seeking for depression in a multilingual worldwide sample.


BACKGROUND Prior research has found higher rates of mental health problems among sexual minority individuals. We examine treatment-seeking for depression, as well as its relationship with sexual orientation, in a large, multilingual, international sample. METHOD Participants in an automated, quintilingual internet-based depression screening tool were screened for depression, and completed several background measures, including sexual orientation (with an option to decline to state) and past and current depression treatment seeking. RESULTS 3695 participants screened positive for current or past depression and responded to the sexual orientation question. Those who declined to state their sexual orientation were far less likely to seek any treatment than individuals endorsing any orientation; they were especially unlikely to seek psychotherapy. Individuals identifying as bisexual sought both psychotherapy and alternative treatments at a higher rate than other groups. An interaction was observed between sexual orientation and gender, such that lesbian women were especially likely to have used psychotherapy. Other variables that emerged as significant predictors of treatment-seeking for depression included age and participant's language. LIMITATIONS Limitations include possible misinterpretation of translated terms due to regional differences, and possible limits to generalizability due to this study being conducted on the internet. CONCLUSIONS Our results suggest that individuals who decline to state their sexual orientation may be more likely to forgo effective treatments for depression. Further studies of depression service utilization should focus on developing treatment modalities that could better engage sexual minority individuals, especially those who are reluctant to disclose their orientation.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.07.003

Cite this paper

@article{Rutter2016SexualOA, title={Sexual orientation and treatment-seeking for depression in a multilingual worldwide sample.}, author={Tara M Rutter and Annesa Flentje and James W. Dilley and Suzanne Barakat and Nancy H Liu and Margaret S Gross and Ricardo F. Mu{\~n}oz and Yan Leykin}, journal={Journal of affective disorders}, year={2016}, volume={206}, pages={87-93} }