Predictors of anxiety among sexual minority individuals in the Southern US.

Sexual minority individuals experience a disproportionate burden of mental health issues, particularly in less populous cities of the southern United States. Unique identity-related stressors may explain these disparities. The current study examines relationships between sexual minority stress, identity, and anxiety in sexual minority individuals from a small metropolitan area of the South. Sexual minority individuals (N = 249) from the Central Savannah River Area completed a survey assessing minority stress (i.e., identity-based discrimination, internalized homophobia), identity (i.e., outness comfort, community connectedness) and history of anxiety as part of a larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer community health needs assessment. All minority stress variables were significantly, positively associated with an anxiety history whereas community connectedness was significantly, negatively associated with anxiety history at the bivariate level. A multiple logistic regression model revealed that assault history was significantly associated with increased odds of anxiety history, whereas community connectedness was associated with decreased odds of anxiety history. These results demonstrate an influence of discriminatory experiences on anxiety in sexual minority individuals of the South and the protective value of community connectedness. Providers and advocates should work at the individual, community, and systemic levels to eliminate lesbian, gay, bisexual discrimination and facilitate community involvement, thereby reducing mental health disparities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)