ORIGINAL RESEARCH| Volume 102, ISSUE 11, P2117-2124, November 2021

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Sexual Orientation and Functional Limitations: Cross-sectional Analyses From the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey



      To assess the association between sexual orientation and functional limitations in a large representative sample of the English population.




      Data were from the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey.


      A total of 7403 adults aged 16-95 years (51.4% female; mean age, 46.3±18.6y) were included in the present study.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Sexual orientation was assessed using 2 items adapted from the Kinsey scale and was dichotomized into heterosexual and sexual minority orientation. Functional limitations were assessed using 7 activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). Functional limitations were defined as at least 1 difficulty in 1 of 7 ADL and IADL. Adjusted logistic regression analyses were conducted to investigate the association between sexual orientation (independent variable) and functional limitations (dependent variable).


      The level of sexual minority orientation and prevalence of functional limitations in the sample was 7.1% and 32.9%, respectively. After adjusting for several potential confounders, sexual minority orientation was positively and significantly associated with functional limitations (odds ratio, 1.51; 95% confidence interval, 1.18-1.95; reference group: heterosexual orientation).


      Based on the findings of this study, interventions aiming to prevent against and/or manage/reduce functional limitations in sexual minorities are needed. More research is also warranted to better understand mediators (eg, obesity, cognitive complaints, psychiatric disorders) involved in the sexual orientation–functional limitation relationship.


      List of abbreviations:

      ADL (activities of daily living), APMS (Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey), CI (confidence interval), IADL (instrumental activities of daily living), OR (odds ratio), UK (United Kingdom), US (United States)
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