The Role of Self-Esteem in the Relationship Between Sexual Minority Status and Depressive Symptoms

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Sexual minority (SM) youth have been found to experience higher rates of depression and depressive symptoms compared with heterosexual youth. It has been suggested that there are mediators in the pathway between stigma-related stress and psychopathology, such as self-esteem. This study was interested in investigating whether self-esteem is a mediator between SM status by romantic attraction and the outcome depressive symptoms during the transition from adolescence to adulthood, and whether sex moderated this mediation. Results showed that those who were both-sex attracted had significantly higher depressive symptoms than their opposite-sex attracted counterparts (β=0.04,p=0.049). Further, findings showed that self-esteem is a mediator in the pathway between both-sex attraction and depressive symptoms (p=0.007). Although females were found to have higher depressive symptoms than males, no significant interaction with sexual minority status was found. These results can have implications for possible interventions to reduce depressive symptomatology for sexual minority groups transitioning into adulthood.