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Minority stress and sleep: How do stress perception and anxiety symptoms act as mediators for sexual minority men?

Published:January 23, 2023DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2023.01.002

      Abstract

      Objectives

      Sexual minority men experience worse sleep than heterosexuals. Little is known about how minority stress may account for these differences. Therefore, the aims of this study are to (1) understand the relationship between minority stress and sleep disturbance in a sample of sexual minority men, and (2) test whether these relationships are mediated by generalized anxiety symptoms and perception of stress.

      Methods

      In 2020, 239 sexual minority men were recruited to complete an online survey. Participants responded to scales assessing minority stress (ie, internalized homophobia, experiences of harassment, microaggressions), perception of stress, generalized anxiety symptoms, and sleep disturbance. Linear regressions were used to test the relationship between minority stress and sleep disturbance and to test generalized anxiety symptoms and perception of stress as mediators.

      Results

      The final model was significant (F = 16.916, p < .001) and accounted for 43.5% of the variance in sleep disturbance. Generalized anxiety symptoms and perception of stress fully mediated the relationships between minority stress and sleep disturbance.

      Conclusions

      Findings from this study suggest the need for psychological intervention to improve sleep for sexual minority men. Future research should test this model longitudinally, and include objective measures of stress. Future interventions could target stress perception using mindfulness or cognitive-based interventions.

      Keywords

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