There are approximately one million older lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adults in the USA. Their mental health issues result from interactions between genetic factors and stress associated with membership in a sexual minority group. Although advancements in acceptance and equal treatment of LGBT individuals have been occurring, sexual minority status remains associated with risks to physical and mental well-being. Older LGBT adults are more likely to have experienced mistreatment and discrimination due to living a majority of their lives prior to recent advancements in acceptance and equal treatment. All LGBT adults experience one common developmental challenge: deciding if, when, and how to reveal to others their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. LGBT individuals have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders and also are at increased risk for certain medical conditions like obesity, breast cancer, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Improved education and training of clinicians, coupled with clinical research efforts, holds the promise of improved overall health and life quality for older LGBT adults.
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Conflict of Interest
Brandon C. Yarns, Janet M. Abrams, and Thomas W. Meeks declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Daniel D. Sewell has received professional fees from ActivCare, Inc. and grants from DHHS/HRSA and the John A. Hartford Foundation. Dr. Sewell is also the president of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry and receives no financial compensation for this role.
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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
“The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.”
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Geriatric Disorders