Mind the gap: Predicting the positive mental health of adult sexual minority Canadians
Authors: Tracey Peter
The goal of the study is to investigate possible predictors of positive mental health, and whether they differ across sexual identity adult groups. Using data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey on Mental Health, multivariate analyses were conducted, including interaction terms, to assess the effects of sexual orientation on various mental illness, health-risk behaviors, and sociological indicators and their correlations with positive mental health. Substantial effect sizes were observed across all sexual identity groups for psychological distress, social provisions and sense of belonging in terms of their influence on positive mental health. However, various mental health disorders, suicidality, and whether or not care needs were being met varied considerably in the disaggregated analysis, suggesting that there are key differences among sexual minority groups when it comes to predicting positive mental health. This study represents perhaps the largest population-based analysis of positive mental health, which is both theoretically informed and psychometrically verified, on sexual minority adults. Findings raise important concerns regarding the lower than average levels of positive mental health for all sexual minorities, which may be explained, at least in part, to the health care system’s tendency to focus primarily on individual treatment needs rather than broader socio-structural aspects within a mental health promotion framework.
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