Sexual minority women and depressive symptoms throughout adulthood

Maria Pyra*, Kathleen M. Weber, Tracey E. Wilson, Jennifer Cohen, Lynn Murchison, Lakshmi Goparaju, Elizabeth T. Golub, Mardge H. Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objectives. We examined the associations between depressive symptoms and sexual identity and behavior among women with or at risk for HIV.

Methods. We analyzed longitudinal data from 1811 participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) from 1994 to 2013 in Brooklyn and the Bronx, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; and Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, by comparing depressive symptoms by baseline sexual identity and ongoing sexual behavior. We controlled for age, socioeconomic status, violence history, and substance use.

Results. In separate analyses, bisexual women and women who reported having sex with both men and women during follow-up had higher unadjusted odds of depressive symptoms compared with heterosexuals and women who reported only having male sexual partners (adjusted odd ratio [AOR] = 1.36; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.10, 1.69 and AOR = 1.21; 95% CI = 1.06, 1.37, respectively). Age was a significant effect modifier in multivariable analysis; sexual minority women had increased odds of depressive symptoms in early adulthood, but they did not have these odds at midlife. Odds of depressive symptoms were lower among some sexual minority women at older ages.

Conclusions. Patterns of depressive symptoms over the life course of sexual minority women with or at risk for HIV might differ from heterosexual women and from patterns observed in the general aging population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e83-e90
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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