Bidirectional Causal Associations Between Same-Sex Attraction and Psychological Distress: Testing Moderation and Mediation Effects

Olakunle A. Oginni*, Kai X. Lim, Qazi Rahman, Patrick Jern, Thalia C. Eley, Frühling V. Rijsdijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Only one study has examined bidirectional causality between sexual minority status (having same-sex attraction) and psychological distress. We combined twin and genomic data from 8700 to 9700 participants in the UK Twins Early Development Study cohort at ≈21 years to replicate and extend these bidirectional causal effects using separate unidirectional Mendelian Randomization-Direction of Causation models. We further modified these models to separately investigate sex differences, moderation by childhood factors (retrospectively-assessed early-life adversity and prospectively-assessed childhood gender nonconformity), and mediation by victimization. All analyses were carried out in OpenMx in R. Same-sex attraction causally influenced psychological distress with significant reverse causation (beta = 0.19 and 0.17; 95% CIs = 0.09, 0.29 and 0.08, 0.25 respectively) and no significant sex differences. The same-sex attraction → psychological distress causal path was partly mediated by victimization (12.5%) while the reverse causal path was attenuated by higher childhood gender nonconformity (moderation coefficient = −0.09, 95% CI: −0.13, −0.04).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118–131
JournalBehavior Genetics
Volume53
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Causality
  • Mediation
  • Minority stress
  • Moderation
  • Psychological distress
  • Same-sex attraction

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