Open Access Research article

Sexual orientation and self-reported mood disorder diagnosis among Canadian adults

Basia Pakula* and Jean A Shoveller

Author Affiliations

School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:209  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-209

Published: 8 March 2013



The prevalence and correlates of mood disorders among people who self-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) are not well understood. Therefore, the current analysis was undertaken to estimate the prevalence and correlates of self-reported mood disorders among a nationally representative sample of Canadian adults (ages 18 to 59 years). Stratified analyses by age and sex were also performed.


Using data from the 2007–2008 Canadian Community Health Survey, logistic regression techniques were used to determine whether sexual orientation was associated with self-reported mood disorders.


Among respondents who identified as LGB, 17.1% self-reported having a current mood disorder while 6.9% of heterosexuals reported having a current mood disorder. After adjusting for potential confounders, LGB-respondents remained more likely to report mood disorder as compared to heterosexual respondents (AOR: 2.93; 95% CI: 2.55-3.37). Gay and bisexual males were at elevated odds of reporting mood disorders (3.48; 95% CI: 2.81–4.31), compared to heterosexual males. Young LGB respondents (ages 18–29) had higher odds (3.75; 95% CI: 2.96–4.74), compared to same-age heterosexuals.


These results demonstrate elevated prevalence of mood disorders among LGB survey respondents compared to heterosexual respondents. Interventions and programming are needed to promote the mental health and well being of people who identify as LGB, especially those who belong to particular subgroups (e.g., men who are gay or bisexual; young people who are LGB).

Mood disorders; Mental health; Sexual orientation; Sexual minority