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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Females and lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations are twice as likely to develop depression as males and heterosexuals, respectively. This chapter reviews the descriptive epidemiology of sex and sexual orientation differences in depression, and discusses explanations for these group differences, including neurobiological (e.g., differences in limbic system reactivity), individual (e.g., cognitive and affective processes), and interpersonal processes (e.g., victimization experiences), as well as structural influences (e.g., state-level policies that differentially target gays and lesbians for social exclusion). The chapter summarizes common vulnerabilities to depression in females and sexual minorities and offers several directions for future research, including the need for multimethod, multilevel approaches that can increase our understanding of the emergence and persistence of differences in depression based on sex and sexual orientation.

Keywords: sex differences, sexual orientation, group differences, cognitive/affective processes, neurobiological processes, interpersonal processes, structural influences

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