Sleep problems among sexual minorities: a longitudinal study on the influence of the family of origin and chosen family
Journal titleBMC Public Health
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AbstractBackground: There is growing evidence that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults experience more sleep problems than the general population. As LGB individuals experience a signifcantly greater risk of family rejection and low family support, our study investigates the role of family support as a potential determinant of LGB sleep problems over a prolonged period, and whether friend support (i.e. chosen family) can mitigate the efect of low family support. Given the importance of sleep on mental and physical health, study results may help shed light on persistent health disparities across sexual orientations. Methods: Our sample included 1703 LGB individuals from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS). Mixed-efect logistic regressions were used to estimate the efect of family and friend support on the development of sleep problems after 24months while controlling for potential confounders. A modifed Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was used to measure 1) presence of any sleep problems, 2) short sleep duration, and 3) poor sleep quality. Results: Family support at baseline was independently associated with all sleep problems in our study after 24-months: 1 SD increase in family support was associated with a 0.94 times lower risk of sleep problems (95% C.I=0.90-0.98), a 0.88 times lower risk of short sleep duration (95% C.I=0.81-0.95), and a 0.92 times lower risk of sleep quality (95% C.I=0.93-0.98). Support from one’s chosen family (proxied by friend support) did not mitigate the efects of low family support on sleep problems. Conclusions: Our study found a consistent efect of family support across all sleep outcomes along with evidence of a persistent efect after 24months. Our fndings point to the importance of targeting family support in designing interventions aimed at reducing LGB sleep problems.
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