Florida Public Health Review

Publication Date



Background: Poor mental health is a significant determinant of health in the US and is associated with several adverse health outcomes. Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) measures help assess the mental distress burden on individuals and populations. This study examines mental distress health disparities at and above the frequent mental distress threshold among Florida adults who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB).

Methods: We used data from the 2017-2019 Florida Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). A total of 39,876 adults aged 18 years and older were included in the analyses. The key dependent variables used for the study were frequent mental distress (FMD), defined as reporting poor mental health on 14 or more of the past 30 days, and persistent mental distress (PMD), defined as reporting poor mental health on 21 or more of the past 30 days. The independent variable of interest was sexual orientation. Other covariates included sex, age, race/ethnicity, and education level. Chi-square and logistic regression analyses were performed.

Results: Overall, 5.5% of the population identified as LGB, 13.2% reported FMD, and 8% reported PMD. A higher proportion of LGB adults reported having FMD (28.2%) compared to heterosexual adults (12.4%, p=

Discussion: There are contributing factors to consider when attempting to understand the relationship between mental distress and being a member of the LGB community. The evidence presented in this study supports further research on the relationships between FMD and PMD and health outcomes in all populations, including the LGBTQ+ community.