Bisexual-Specific Minority Stressors, Psychological Distress, and Suicidality in Bisexual Individuals: the Mediating Role of Loneliness

Ethan H. Mereish, Sabra L. Katz-Wise, Julie M. Woulfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Bisexual individuals are at higher risk for poor mental health outcomes compared to heterosexual as well as lesbian and gay individuals and experience minority stressors, such as discrimination, from both heterosexual and sexual minority communities. However, there is little research examining the negative effects of bisexual-specific minority stressors on bisexual individuals’ mental health as well as psychological factors that might help explain minority stressors’ deleterious effects. This research examined the effects of distal minority stressors (i.e., anti-bisexual experiences from both heterosexual as well as lesbian and gay people) and proximal stressors (i.e., internalized heterosexism and sexual orientation concealment) on psychological distress and suicidality among bisexual adults (N = 503). Building on the relational framing of the minority stress model, we also tested one relational factor (i.e., loneliness) as a mediator of the associations between distal and proximal minority stressors and poor mental health (i.e., psychological distress and suicidality). Structural equation modeling analyses were used to test the mediating effects of loneliness on the associations between minority stressors and psychological distress and suicidality. Although distal and proximal minority stressors were not associated with each other, loneliness mediated the effects of distal and proximal minority stressors on psychological distress and suicidality. The results of this study underscore the importance of targeting bisexual-specific minority stressors as well as loneliness in preventive interventions to improve the mental health of bisexual individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-725
Number of pages10
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Bisexual
  • Loneliness
  • Mental health
  • Minority stress
  • Psychological distress
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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