Sex Roles

, Volume 78, Issue 11–12, pp 822–832 | Cite as

Psychological Well-Being of Sexual Minority Young Adults in Iceland: Assessing Differences by Sexual Attraction and Gender

  • Berglind Gisladottir
  • Bjarki Gronfeldt
  • Alfgeir Logi Kristjansson
  • Inga Dora Sigfusdottir
Original Article


The literature on sexual minority adolescents and young adults has highlighted a poor mental status among those groups compared to their heterosexual peers. Sexual minorities are also more likely to experience stress factors such as bullying and physical violence. However, sexual minority young adults have not been studied much in Iceland, a Nordic country renowned for a high degree of sexual equality. Given what the literature has shown to date, a noteworthy question is whether patterns of mental well-being of sexual minority adolescents and young adults in Iceland are comparable to other countries. The aim of the present study was to provide an assessment of mental well-being in sexual minority young adults in Iceland. We used population data to examine a selection of mental well-being indicators in 16–20 year-olds, both-sex-attracted and same-sex-attracted participants, and compared them to other-sex-attracted peers. Findings indicated that sexual minority young adults exhibited significantly greater levels of depressed mood, anger, and perceived stress than other-sex-attracted young adults. However, when stratified by gender and sexual attraction pattern, the analyses revealed that both-sex-attracted young women scored significantly higher on all indicators than any other group. We conclude that studies in this area should strive to distinguish between same-sex and both-sex attraction as well as to stratify analyses by gender. The well-being of both-sex-attracted young women is a compelling topic for future research.


Gender Bisexuality Sexual minority Young adults Mental well-being Depressed mood Anger Perceived stress 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

The data collection used in this study was approved by the Icelandic Data Protection Agency and met all ethical standards.

The manuscript is not in submission anywhere else and neither is it being considered in any other medium, in part or as a whole.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teacher Education, School of EducationUniversity of IcelandReykjavíkIceland
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, School of BusinessReykjavik UniversityReykjavikIceland
  3. 3.Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public HealthWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers’ CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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