Category: Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgender Issues
Background: Minority stress theory (Meyer, 2003) posits that heterosexist experiences such as discrimination and rejection increase the burden of stress on sexual minorities which leads to inequities in mental health. An intersectional lens suggests that the experiences of sexual minorities may vary by other sociodemographic characteristics, including immigration status; however, research that examines the joint effects of sexual orientation and immigration status is scant. It is unknown whether being an immigrant has the same protective health effects among sexual minorities as has been observed in the general population. This study compares the impact of minority stress on the mental health of non-immigrant and immigrant gay and bisexual men (GBM) living in Toronto, Canada.
Method: 470 GBM completed two self-report measures of minority stress: the Heterosexist Harassment, Rejection and Discrimination Scale (HHRD) and Internalized Homophobia Scale (IH), and measures of trait anxiety and depression. Participants were grouped based on duration of host country residence: non-immigrant (native-born), recent (< 5 years), mid-term (5-19 years), and long-term (20+ years) immigrant status. Mediation analyses stratified by duration of host country residence and adjusted for age and income were estimated using bias-corrected bootstrapping. HHRD and IH served as predictors in separate models, trait anxiety served as the mediator, and depression as the outcome variable.
Results: The impact ofHHRD on depression was mediated by trait anxiety among native-born (B = .19, p < .01), recent immigrants (B = .14, p < .05), and long-term immigrants (B = .42, p < .01). The impact of IH on depression was mediated by trait anxiety only among native-born (B = .23, p < .01) and long-term immigrant (B = .78, p < .01) GBM. There was no direct effect of either HHRD or IH on depression among long-term immigrants in the mediation model.
Discussion: Trait anxiety mediated the impact of heterosexist experiences and internalized homophobia on depression among long-term immigrants and native-born GBM. These results are consistent with the healthy immigrant effect, whereby recent immigrants are typically healthier than host populations, but with diminishing health over time (Ali, 2002). Transdiagnostic treatment for anxiety and depression among GBM (Pachankis et al., 2015) may be particularly useful for long-term immigrant and native-born GBM.
Tyler Tulloch– Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Syed Noor– Ryerson University
Kerith Conron– The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law
Barry Adam– University of Windsor
Ted Myers– University of Toronto
David Brennan– University of Toronto
Sandra Gardner– University of Toronto
Trevor Hart– Professor, Ryerson University and University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada