Sexual orientation poses no risk to mental health

Tuesday 14 February 2017

A study led by the Centre for Research on Ageing, Health & Wellbeing (CRAHW) has challenged a common perception that homosexual and bisexual people are at risk of poor mental health and suicide.

Lead researcher Dr Richard Burns said homosexual or bisexual orientation was not a major risk for long-term mental health problems.

“Childhood sexual trauma, risky health behaviours, smoking, a lack of positive support and negative social interactions pose more of a risk for people’s mental health than their sexual orientation,” said Dr Burns.

The study followed about 5,000 adults over eight years as part of the Personality and Total Health Through Life Project (PATH).

PATH through Life is a 20 year longitudinal study to examine cognitive development and mental health from early to late adulthood. It involves more than 7,000 participants in three age-group cohorts (20+) (40+) and (60+). It is the only longitudinal study of its kind in Australia.

Media articles

The ANU press release.
The Guardian.
The ABC.


Updated:  20 September 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  Business Manager