Does "it get better" for depressed sexual minority youth in young adulthood?

Robert Cardom, Sharon Rostosky, Fred Danner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose To examine depressive symptoms and suicidality in adolescence and adulthood in a sample of depressed adolescents in five sexual identity groups (heterosexual, mostly heterosexual, bisexual, mostly gay, and gay). Methods Depressed adolescents (N = 1,591) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were examined again in young adulthood. Results Paired t-tests revealed that depressive symptoms declined significantly in all five sexual identity groups. McNemar chi-square tests revealed that the percentage of participants reporting suicidal ideation decreased significantly in all groups except for the mostly gay group. The percentage of participants reporting suicide attempts declined in all groups except the bisexual group. Conclusions Within-group differences are important to consider in delivering effective mental health services. Although depressive symptoms diminished in young adulthood in all groups, suicidality did not. Mostly gay and bisexual young adults did not report the same significant declines as their peers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-673
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This brief report used data from Add Health, a project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development , with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website ( ). Earlier versions of this brief were presented in 2012 at the Add Health Users Conference in Bethesda, Maryland, and the 120th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Orlando, Florida.


  • Bisexual
  • Depression
  • Gay
  • Homosexuality
  • Lesbian
  • Sexual minority
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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