The Interrelations Between Age, Sense of Belonging, and Depressive Symptoms Among Australian Gay Men and Lesbians

Suzanne McLaren, Petah M. Gibbs, Eboni Watts

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Researchers have demonstrated that age is related to depression among gay men and lesbians, with younger adults experiencing more depression than older adults. Other researchers have indicated that a sense of belonging is related to lower levels of depression. This study investigated whether sense of belonging to the gay and lesbian community moderates and mediates the relationship between age and depressive symptoms among gay men and lesbians. An Australian sample of self-identified gay men (n = 346) and lesbians (n = 270) completed the Psychological subscale of the Sense of Belonging Instrument and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Results indicated that age and sense of belonging were directly and independently related to depressive symptoms for gay men and lesbians. In addition, for lesbians only, sense of belonging moderated the age-depressive symptom relation. For lesbians with low levels of sense belonging to the lesbian community, age was not associated with depressive symptoms. In contrast, for lesbians with high levels of sense of belonging to the lesbian community, the association between sense of belonging and depressive symptoms decreased with increasing age. Encouraging gay men and lesbians (especially younger lesbians) to become involved in the gay and lesbian community is likely to be beneficial for their mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2013


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