The Effects of Polyvictimization on Mental and Physical Health Outcomes in an LGBTQ Sample

Francesca Kassing, Tracy Casanova, James A. Griffin, Elizabeth Wood, Lara M. Stepleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) individuals are at elevated risk for violent victimization and often experience increased health disparities compared to their non-LGBTQ counterparts. The present study examined associations between polyvictimization and mental and physical health in an LGBTQ sample. Participants included 385 LGBTQ individuals involved in a larger health-needs assessment of LGBTQ individuals living in the southeastern United States. The sample primarily identified as gay/lesbian (63.4%), cisgender (78.7%), and White (66.5%), and the mean participant age was 34.82 years (SD = 13.45). A latent class analysis (LCA) was conducted on seven items assessing different types of violence exposure. The LCA identified a three-class model, with classes characterized by low trauma exposure (71.4%), nondiscriminatory violence (15.1%), and high trauma exposure (13.5%). Differences in demographic characteristics, perceptions of mental and physical health, and diagnoses of specific health conditions were assessed across classes. The high-trauma class reported poorer perceived physical and mental health compared to the other two classes, with mean differences in past-month poor health days ranging from 11.38 to 17.37. There were no differences between the classes regarding specific physical health conditions; however, the high-trauma and nondiscriminatory violence classes had significantly higher rates of anxiety, depression, drug abuse, and suicidality than the low-trauma class, ORs = 2.39–23.83. The present findings suggest that polyvictimization is an important risk factor for poor health among LGBTQ individuals. These results have implications for addressing health disparities among the broader LGBTQ community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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