Sexual Identity, Social Support and Mental Health: A Comparison between Individuals with Diverse Plurisexual Identities in Texas

Kathleen Panas, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

Recent research has documented health disparities in the non-monsexual or plurisexual population (created by combining plurisexual identities such as bisexual, pansexual, and queer) in relation to gay/ lesbian and heterosexual populations. However, very limited research has been done to assess the possible differences with the plurisexual population. The intent of this study is to compare the sexual behaviors, openness, social support and connection, and mental health both between the plurisexual population and the gay and lesbian population in Texas as well as between the different plurisexual identities. ^ An online survey was administered to SGM Texans. 676 respondents identified as monosexual (gay/lesbian) and 505 respondents identified as plurisexual (bisexual n = 321, pansexual n = 88, queer n = 96). Responses were analyzed for statistically significant differences first between the monosexual and plurisexual populations and then within the plurisexual population. Analysis was done using either chi square tests or t-tests and ANOVA tables. ^ Consistent with the literature, significant differences were found in almost all categories between monsexual and plurisexual populations. Between plurisexual identities, differences were seen with bisexual individuals less likely to be open, less active in the LGBT community and less comfortable with LGBT peers than pansexual or queer individuals (all p < 0.001). Conversely, bisexual individuals are more comfortable around heterosexual peers and family (p < 0.001 and p = 0.045, respectively). These differences in social support did not translate to mental health, as almost no differences were found between plurisexual identities in that regards. ^ In terms of sexual behaviors, while differences were seen both in same- or opposite-gender behaviors and trans/nonbinary inclusive behaviors, several were due to gender confounding. What remained significant was that bisexual individuals were more likely to be cis exclusive in attractions and relationships than other plurisexual individuals (both p < 0.001), while still less likely than monosexual individuals (attractions: bisexual - 59.8%, monosexual - 78.6%; relationships: bisexual - 74.8%, monosexual - 82.3%). ^ While differences were found between plurisexual identities, the important finding is the presence of health disparities in all plurisexual groups, simply at a different magnitude. While these results point to the need for different methods of outreach and intervention for people of different identities, the need for intervention remains consistent.^

Subject Area

Mental health|LGBTQ studies|Public health

Recommended Citation

Panas, Kathleen, "Sexual Identity, Social Support and Mental Health: A Comparison between Individuals with Diverse Plurisexual Identities in Texas" (2017). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10270609.
http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI10270609

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