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An examination of health inequities among college students by sexual orientation identity and sex

Danielle R. Brittain, Mary K. Dinger
  • Danielle R. Brittain
    Community Health Program, Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO, United States | danielle.brittain@unco.edu
  • Mary K. Dinger
    Community Health Program, Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO, United States

Abstract

Background. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) college students may have an increased number of health inequities compared to their heterosexual counterparts. However, to date, no research has provided a comprehensive examination of health-related factors by sexual orientation identity and sex among a national sample of college students. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine physical, sexual, interpersonal relations/safety, and mental health inequities by sexual orientation identity and sex among a national sample of college students.
Design and methods. Participants (n=39,767) completed the National College Health Assessment II during the fall 2008/spring 2009 academic year. Hierarchical binary logistic regression analyses were used to examine health inequities by sexual orientation identity and sex.
Results. LGB students compared to heterosexual students, experienced multiple health inequities including higher rates of being verbally threatened and lower rates of physical activity and condom use.
Conclusions. An understanding of health inequities experienced by LGB college students is critical as during these years of transition, students engage in protective (e.g., physical activity) and risky (e.g., lack of condom use) health behaviours, establishing habits that could last a lifetime. Future research should be used to design and implement targeted public health strategies and policies to reduce health inequities and improve health-related quality of life among LGB college students.

Keywords

health inequities, college students, lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual

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Submitted: 2014-10-17 22:25:04
Published: 2015-02-19 16:51:45
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Copyright (c) 2015 Danielle R. Brittain, Mary K. Dinger

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