Journal Article

Sexual minority disparities in health and well-being as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic differ by sexual identity

Fish, J. N., Salerno, J. P., Williams, N. D., Rinderknecht, R. G., Drotning, K. J., Sayer, L. C., Doan, L.
LGBT Health, 8:4, 263–272 (2021)
Open Access


Purpose: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has accentuated long-standing population healthdisparities in the United States. We examined how the pandemic and its social consequences may differentiallyimpact sexual minority adults, relative to heterosexual adults.
Methods: Data are from a U.S. national sample of adults (n=2996; 18.06%) collected from online panels from April to May 2020. We used eight indicators of well-being—mental health, physical health, quality of life, stress,loneliness, psychological distress, alcohol use, and fatigue—to assess the degree to which sexual identity sub-groups (i.e., heterosexual, gay/lesbian, bisexual, and ‘‘other’’ sexual minority) varied in retrospective pre- andpostpandemic onset indicators of well-being and whether groups varied in their rate of change from pre- andpostpandemic onset.
Results:The results showed consistent patterns of decline in well-being across sexual identity subgroups,although changes in mental health, physical health, quality of life, stress, and psychological distress weremore robust among sexual minority adults in general, relative to heterosexual adults. Adjusted multivariate mod-els testing differences in change in retrospective pre- and postpandemic onset found that well-being amongbisexual men and women was most negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic may have distinct health consequences for sexual minority adults in theUnited States. Our findings support and further legitimize calls for more comprehensive surveillance and culturalresponsiveness in emergency preparedness as it relates to sexual minority people and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: America, inequality, mental health
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.