Purpose: Sexual minority youth (SMY) are at increased risk of poor health, but it remains unclear whether this phenomenon is universal. In this study, nationally representative samples of 15-year olds from eight European countries and regions were investigated to test if adolescents who have been in love with same- or both-gender partners report poorer health than those exclusively in love with opposite-gender partners or who have never been in love. Methods: A subsample of 13,674 adolescents participating in the 2014 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study was used. We conducted binary logistic regression, adjusted for gender, region, and relative family affluence, to analyze associations between self-reported romantic love, multiple psychosomatic symptoms, and poor self-rated health. Results: Adolescents reporting same-gender love (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.50, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.11-2.02) and both-gender love (aOR = 3.57, 95% CI: 2.65-4.83) had significantly higher odds for multiple psychosomatic symptoms than those who reported opposite-gender love. Similarly, both SMY groups had higher odds of poor self-rated health (aOR = 2.95, 95% CI: 1.64-5.31 and aOR = 3.08, 95% CI: 1.79-5.31, respectively). Those who reported that they have never been in love had significantly lower odds for multiple symptoms. Adjustment for sociodemographic variables and stratifying by gender did not substantially change the odds ratios. Conclusion: Adolescents in love with same- and both-gender partners reported poorer subjective health outcomes than those in love with opposite-gender partners or who reported never being in love, suggesting that SMY health inequalities are found across various European countries and regions.
- health disparities
- international research (research outside the US)
- minority stress
Field of Science*
- 3.3 Health sciences
- 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database