Purpose: This study examined the health profile of a national probability sample of three cohorts of sexual minority people, and the ways that indicators of health vary among sexual minority people across age cohorts and other defining sociodemographic characteristics, including sexual identity, gender identity, and race/ethnicity.
Methods: The Generations Study, the first national probability sample of three age cohorts of sexual minority people (n = 1507) in the United States collected in 2016–2017, was used to examine general health profiles across several broad domains: alcohol and drug abuse; general health, physical health, and health disability; mental health and psychological distress; and positive well-being, including general happiness, social well-being, and life satisfaction.
Results: There were no cohort differences in substance abuse or positive well-being. The younger cohort was physically healthier, but had worse psychological health than both the middle and older cohorts.
Conclusions: Cohort differences in physical health were consistent with patterns of aging, whereas for mental health, there were distinct cohort differences among sexual minority people. Given that compromised mental health in the early life course creates trajectories of vulnerability, these results point to the need for mental health prevention and intervention for younger cohorts of sexual minority people.

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Information & Authors


Published In

cover image LGBT Health
LGBT Health
Volume 9Issue Number 8November/December 2022
Pages: 564 - 570
PubMed: 35856801


Published in print: November/December 2022
Published online: 30 November 2022
Published ahead of print: 19 July 2022


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Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA.
Allen B. Mallory
Department of Human Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Department of Family Science, Prevention Research Center, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA.
David M. Frost
Social Research Institute, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
Phillip L. Hammack
Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California, USA.
Marguerita Lightfoot*
School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Andy Lin
Office of Advanced Research Computing, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.
Bianca D.M. Wilson
The Williams Institute, School of Law, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.
The Williams Institute, School of Law, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.


Current affiliation: School of Public Health, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA.
Address correspondence to: Stephen T. Russell, PhD, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, 108 E. Dean Keeton Street, Stop A2702, Austin, TX 78712-1248, USA [email protected]
An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2019 Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science Annual Conference in Seattle, Washington, October 1–4, 2019.

Authors' Contributions

I.H.M., D.M.F, P.L.H., M.L., S.T.R., and B.D.M.W. designed and acquired the data; all authors conceptualized the study; and S.T.R., A.B.M., and J.N.F. operationalized the analyses and wrote the first draft of the article. A.L. and A.B.M. conducted analyses. All authors contributed to subsequent drafts of the final article and all co-authors reviewed and approved the article before submission.

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

Funding Information

The Generations Study was funded by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD grant 1R01HD078526) and through supplemental grants from the National Institutes of Health, Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, and the Office of Research on Women's Health. This work was also supported by grant, P2CHD042849, Population Research Center, and by grant, T32HD007081, Training Program in Population Studies, both awarded to the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and by grant F31MH115608 awarded by the National Institute of Mental Health to A.B.M.
The authors acknowledge support for this research from the Priscilla Pond Flawn Endowment at the University of Texas at Austin. J.N.F. acknowledges support from P2CHD041041, awarded to the Maryland Population Research Center, by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and from the University of Maryland Prevention Research Center cooperative agreement no. U48DP006382 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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