Lesbian, gay and bisexual Generation Z adults aged 18 to 25 experience higher levels of anxiety, sadness, stress and loneliness than their peers. LGB members differ most from their peers in self-reported anxiety levels. While about half of straight/heterosexual adults aged 18 to 25 (52%) report they experienced anxiety a lot of the day yesterday, 71% of those who identify as LGB or another sexual orientation other than straight/heterosexual say the same. The research also explores experiences with positive emotions -- happiness, specifically. On this measure, LGB individuals are also far less likely than their peers to report experiencing happiness the prior day (65% vs. 80%, respectively).
Results for the Gallup-Walton Family Foundation American Youth Survey are based on web responses collected April 24-May 8, 2023, from 3,114 people aged 12 to 25 via the Gallup Panel. The survey included 543 individuals aged 18 to 25 who identified as straight/heterosexual and 239 who identified as having a sexual orientation other than straight/heterosexual (LGB).
Mental Health, Emotional Wellbeing Lower Among LGB Adults
Overall, LGB adults aged 18 to 25 rate their mental health and emotional wellbeing lower than their straight/heterosexual peers. While 63% of straight/heterosexual adults rate their mental health and emotional wellbeing as excellent or good, just 38% of LGB adults say the same.
Physical Health Lower Among LGB Adults
Consistent with their mental health and wellbeing ratings, LGB adults are also less likely than their peers to report having excellent or good physical health. Just 50% of LGB adults aged 18 to 25 say their physical health is excellent or good, compared with 69% of their straight/heterosexual peers.
Over the past several years, mental health and wellbeing concerns have increased precipitously in the U.S. and globally. While the COVID-19 pandemic likely exacerbated these negative emotions and experiences, Gallup detected increases in the percentage of individuals experiencing negative emotions long before the pandemic began. Since 2006, Gallup has detected increased levels of anger, stress, sadness, physical pain and worry experienced globally.
While mental, emotional and physical health issues have increased among all Americans, results from the Gallup-Walton Family Foundation American Youth Survey confirm that Gen Z members of the LGB community are experiencing these negative emotions at an even higher rate than their peers. Results suggest these young adults’ daily emotional struggles impact their physical and mental health and require further support to ensure they can thrive in their postsecondary pathways, careers and lives.
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