Changes in the Social Environment and Mental Health during the Transition from Adolescence to Young Adulthood

Bethany Everett, University of Illinois at Chicago

This study uses the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine the relationship between several of census block level measures of sexual minorities’ neighborhoods including of percent urban, college degrees, Republican voters, and same-sex couples, and mental health during young adulthood. Additionally, I examine whether changes in the social environment between adolescence and young adulthood may improve mental health among the sexual minority population. The results suggest that increases in the percent urban and decreases in the percent Republican voters in sexual minorities’ neighborhoods are associated with improvements in mental health. Moreover, sexual minorities who reside in neighborhoods with higher concentrations of same-sex couples also experience better mental health compared to sexual minorities who live in neighborhoods with no same-sex couples. This study contributes important findings to the field by further demonstrating how the social environment and changes in the social environment affect sexual minority mental health.

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Presented in Poster Session 7