The study concludes that same-sex attraction is linked to psychological distress in a bidirectional manner

The study concludes that same-sex attraction is linked to psychological distress in a bidirectional  ...

A new paper published in Behavior Genetics shows a bidirectional relationship between same-sex attraction and psychological distress. However, psychological distress can also result in an increase in same-sex attraction.

The authors of the new study sought to fill a gap in the literature.

Olakunle Oginni, a postdoctoral research associate at King's College London and lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University, was inspired by my research.

Despite the wide recognition of higher mental health difficulties among LGB individuals, there was little research on LGB Nigerians' mental health. This technique enabled me to demonstrate that the association between sexual orientation and mental health is not due to overlapping genetic influences, and that being LGB can induce psychological distress.

The data analyzed in the current study was collected in two phases between June 2017 and February 2019. The total number of participants in each phase was 9,697 and 8,718.

Importantly, the inclusion of monozygotic and dizygotic twins allowed researchers to detect genetic anomalies.

The researchers used a wide variety of assessments to gather data on same-sex attraction, depressive symptoms, generalized anxiety disorder, victimization, early-life adverse experiences, and childhood gender nonconformity. Genotype data was also collected at ages 12-and 16-years, which the researchers used to calculate the genetic tendency for same-sex attraction and psychological distress.

In the majority of respondents, 81% said they were exclusively attracted to the opposite sex, while the rest reported different degrees of same-sex attraction, with 1.9 percent of respondents being mostly same-sex attracted and 11.5% most attracted to the opposite sex.

These findings support minority stress theory, which states that social isolation can result in greater mental health issues.

According to the findings of the study, the rise in psychological distress among LGB individuals is not genetic: victimization is one way that being LGB can induce psychological distress.

To investigate possible causal relationships, the researchers used a statistical technique known as Mendelian Randomization-Direction of Causation models. The method is based on the principles of Mendelian inheritance, which states that genetic variations are not affected by environmental or lifestyle factors.

Researchers discovered evidence of a bidirectional relationship between same-sex attraction and psychological distress. Increased levels of same-sex attraction resulted in increased levels of psychological distress.

Higher childhood gender nonconformity mitigated psychological distress and increased homophobia. “In childhood, being gender nonconforming was beneficial,” Oginni explained.

The findings are largely consistent with that of Oginni and his colleagues, who studied twin pairs from the Finnish Genetics of Sexuality and Aggression cohort. But the new study, like all research, has limitations.

"The investigation needs to be repeated with an even larger sample," Oginni told PsyPost. "We couldn't demonstrate that sexual orientation affects victimization in a statistical way, but we think this was because of how sexual orientation was defined statistically in the study. "It would be better to test these relationships simultaneously and then see how they change over time."

"These findings are interesting to me because to this is an innovative way of using genetic data," Oginni said. "It is also the few times we would be investigating the links between sexual orientation and psychological distress. However, further research will need to investigate the connections between sexual minority status and mental health problems."

Olakunle A. Oginni, Kai X. Lim, Qazi Rahman, Patrick Jern, Thalia C. Eley, and Frühling V. Rijsdijk co-authored the bidirectional Causal Associations Between Same-Sex Attraction and Psychological Stress.

You may also like: