Pandemic compounds psychosocial issues for sexual, gender minorities (SGM)

Research by Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing scientist and collaborators suggests SGM adults bearing extra burden of anxiety during COVID-19 isolation
Case Western Reserve University

Newswise — CLEVELAND—The weight of isolation and loss of social connection caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded existing psychosocial-emotional issues already experienced by adults who identify as sexual or gender minorities (SGM). 

And while many people globally and across the United States—regardless of their gender identity—are experiencing pandemic anxiety at some level, those who identify as SGM appear to have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic both physically and mentally. 

Those are among the findings by Scott Emory Moore, an assistant professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, and research partner Kelly Wierenga, an assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Nursing. 

Their work was recently published in the Journal of Homosexuality, which had put out a call for COVID-19-related research. Three others contributed to the work: Dana Prince, an assistant professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve; Laura Janine Mintz, MD, a doctor in internal medicine/pediatrics at MetroHealth Medical System; and Braveheart Gillani, a graduate student at the Mandel school. 

“The reason we thought this was important enough to study in the very beginning was that this isolation being foisted upon people would function as a prevention mechanism—that it could prevent SGM adults from addressing existing and well documented mental health differences they experience,” Moore said. “And the study shows that those differences were exacerbated during the first three months of the pandemic. 

“This paper basically codifies what a lot of people in sex-gender minority community have been feeling.” 

The researchers also found that SGM respondents experienced: 

  • More frequent COVID-19-associated physical symptoms and depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • A significantly higher proportion of depression and anxiety scores exceeding the threshold for what would be of clinical concern, "indicating that the person qualifies for further assessment for depression and/or anxiety" 

Moore and Wierenga conducted an online survey of 1,380 adults in the United States—290 who identified as SGM and 1,090 who did not (cisgender heterosexual)—from March 23 to June 20, 2020. 

They asked participants about perceived social support and about both physical and psychological symptoms. They also asked about participants’ “ruminating,” or continuously thinking the same thoughts, usually sad or dark, which may lead to poorer mental health outcomes.  

“What we want to draw attention to is that the life-saving measures of social-distancing may have a real and lasting impact on interactions between people and may affect mental health,” Wierenga said. 

Many SGM adults may have already experienced isolation from their families, particularly their biological parents, Moore said. 

“Many SGM people will refer to ‘family of choice,’ meaning that they get their needed support from a variety of people who are not always blood relatives,” Moore said. “But the pandemic has taken away much of their access to that family of choice.” 

The added layer of isolation from having to stay mostly at home during the pandemic, or the closing of social outlets such as LGBTQ centers or restaurants and bars, increased anxiety and diminished available social support. 

“It is critical that we recognize the social and emotional needs of individuals are unique, and that there are groups who are suffering disproportionately,” Wierenga said. “Less access to our family members means many people face a difficult choice between socializing against health care provider recommendations or isolation.” 

Since the online survey was conducted over only the first three months of the pandemic, Moore said, the experiences of SGM adults are likely more acute over time, and that the social networks themselves are being affected.

LGBTQ centers are reportedly seeing a decrease in donations, he said, but those services will be needed as much as ever after the pandemic eases. He suggested that policymakers and anyone with any kind of acquaintance, friendship or relationship with someone who identifies as SGM should be aware and considering how to help bridge the gap. 

“We all can be interventionists,” Moore said. “We can all reach out to someone who needs human interaction.”

 

###

Case Western Reserve University is one of the country's leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, we offer a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Our leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Our nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 5,100 undergraduate and 6,700 graduate students comprise our student body. Visit case.edu to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY



Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5850
Newswise: New Analysis reveals link between birthdays and COVID-19 spread during the height of the pandemic
17-Jun-2021 12:10 PM EDT
New Analysis reveals link between birthdays and COVID-19 spread during the height of the pandemic
Harvard Medical School

Risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection increased 30 percent for households with a recent birthday in counties with high rates of COVID-19 Findings suggest informal social gatherings such as birthday parties played role in infection spread at the height of the coronavirus pandemic No birthday-bash infection jumps seen in areas with low rates of COVID-19 Households with children’s birthdays had greater risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection than with adult birthdays

Newswise: COVID-19 dual-antibody therapies effective against variants in animal study
Released: 21-Jun-2021 10:05 AM EDT
COVID-19 dual-antibody therapies effective against variants in animal study
Washington University in St. Louis

A study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that many, but not all, COVID-19 therapies made from combinations of two antibodies are effective against a wide range of virus variants, and that combination therapies appear to prevent the emergence of drug resistance.

13-Jun-2021 12:05 PM EDT
COVID-19 Pandemic Drinking: Increases Among Women, Black Adults, and People with Children
Research Society on Alcoholism

Risky drinking has been a public health concern in the U.S. for decades, but the significant increase in retail alcohol sales following COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders in particular raised red flags for alcohol researchers. New research has assessed changes in alcohol drinking patterns from before to after the enactment of stay-at-home orders. These results and others will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which will be held virtually this year from the 19th - 23rd of June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

13-Jun-2021 1:05 PM EDT
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Alcohol Consumption Is Far From ‘One Size Fits All’
Research Society on Alcoholism

An ongoing analysis of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on alcohol and related outcomes shows that COVID-related stressors experienced by study participants – including work-, financial-, and family-related stressors – are having a varied impact on individuals with and without alcohol use disorders (AUDs). These results will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which will be held virtually this year from the 19th - 23rd of June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newswise:Video Embedded newswise-expert-panels-on-covid-19-pandemic-notable-excerpts-quotes-and-videos-available
VIDEO
Released: 18-Jun-2021 2:10 PM EDT
Newswise Expert Panels on COVID-19 Pandemic: Notable excerpts, quotes and videos available
Newswise

Newswise is hosting a series of Expert Panels discussion on unique aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This tip sheet includes some notable quotes from the panelists.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 23-Jun-2021 8:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 18-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 23-Jun-2021 8:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Newswise:Video Embedded virtual-event-for-june-17-11am-edt-covid-19-vaccines-and-male-fertility
VIDEO
Released: 18-Jun-2021 8:55 AM EDT
VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT AVAILABLE: Vaccines and Male Fertility Event for June 17, 2021
Newswise

This upcoming JAMA-published study examined whether the COVID-19 vaccine impacts male fertility.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 22-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 18-Jun-2021 8:30 AM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 22-Jun-2021 11:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 18-Jun-2021 7:05 AM EDT
Teamwork saves lives: COVID-19 hospital network shares key findings to improve care
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Data sharing among 40 Michigan hospitals about the care and outcomes for thousands of inpatients with COVID-19 has led to reduced variation and findings that could inform care anywhere, including approaches for preventing blood clots and reducing overuse of antibiotics, as well as a risk prediction tool.

Released: 18-Jun-2021 7:05 AM EDT
One-third of older Americans delayed health care over COVID concerns
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Nearly one in three Americans between the ages of 50 and 80 put off an in-person appointment for medical care in 2020 because they were worried about exposure to the novel coronavirus, new national poll data show.


Showing results

110 of 5850

close
1.41099