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Compared to the general population, LGBTQI+ people are almost three times more likely to suffer from depression and burnout as a result of chronic stress and homophobia, according to new collaborative research by the University of Cologne, University of Bielefeld and the German Institute for Economic Research Berlin.

The study, conducted by Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology (ISS) researcher Mirjam Fischer and colleagues, looked into the health of LQBTQI+ people and found that they are far more affected by mental and physical illness than the rest of the population.

As well as depression and burnout, twice as many LGBTQI+ people are affected by loneliness. Heart disease, asthma, and chronic back pain are significantly more common in comparison to the rest of the population.

Furthermore, the research found that within the LGBTQI+ community, trans people in particular are at a health disadvantage – with 40 percent of all trans people in the study suffering from medically diagnosed anxiety disorders.

“In our societies, many LGBTQI+ people experience chronic stress due to homophobia and heterosexism, which can result in health problems. Even the anticipation of discrimination, independent of experiences of discrimination, can create and exacerbate health problems. We as a society must address this disadvantage.” says Dr. Fischer.

The researchers recommend more LGBTQI+ counselling and mental health services, as well as strengthening existing LGBTQI+ community structures, such as sports, culture and leisure activities.

DIW Weekly Report 5/6 / 2021, p. 41-50


For more information, a copy of the research paper, or to speak with Professor Fischer, contact Katie Hurley on or +44 (0) 1582 790708.

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