Early/Middle Adulthood

  • As a group, LGB adults appear to experience more mood and anxiety disorders, more depression, and an elevated risk for suicidal ideation and attempts compared with heterosexual adults. Research based on smaller convenience samples suggests that elevated rates of suicidal ideation and attempts as well as depression exist among transgender adults; however, little research has examined the prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in this population.

  • Lesbians and bisexual women may use preventive health services less frequently than heterosexual women.

  • Lesbians and bisexual women may be at greater risk of obesity and have higher rates of breast cancer than heterosexual women.

  • HIV/AIDS continues to exact a severe toll on men who have sex with men, with black and Latino men being disproportionately affected.

  • LGBT people are frequently the targets of stigma, discrimination, and violence because of their sexual- and gender-minority status.

  • LGB adults may have higher rates of smoking, alcohol use, and substance use than heterosexual adults. Most research in this area has been conducted among women, with much less being known about gay and bisexual men. Limited research among transgender adults indicates that substance use is a concern for this population.

  • Gay men and lesbians are less likely to be parents than their heterosexual peers, although children of gay and lesbian parents are well adjusted and developmentally similar to children of heterosexual parents.

Later Adulthood

  • Limited research suggests that transgender elders may experience negative health outcomes as a result of long-term hormone use.

  • HIV/AIDS impacts not only younger but also older LGBT individuals. However, few HIV prevention programs target older adults, a cohort that also has been deeply affected by the losses inflicted by AIDS.

  • There is some evidence that LGBT elders exhibit crisis competence (a concept reflecting resilience and perceived hardiness within older LGBT populations).

  • LGBT elders experience stigma, discrimination, and violence across the life course.

  • LGBT elders are less likely to have children than heterosexual elders and are less likely to receive care from adult children.

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