Recent research shed a light on the alarming reality of bisexual service members and veterans.
According to MedicalXPress, US service members and veterans who identify as bisexual may be at higher risk for mental health issues than their gay, lesbian or straight peers.
Bisexual individuals represent the largest segment of the LGBTI community. Interestingly, both bi men and women are overrepresented among those who have served in the military, MedicalXPress further reports.
The research is led by Katie McNamara, a US Air Force captain and third-year doctoral student at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
McNamara has identified a lack in research covering bisexual vets.
‘There’s quite a bit of research on military and veteran mental health and LGBTI health, but very little that combines the two. And before this project, there was absolutely nothing specifically focusing on the sexual minority subgroup of bisexual military-affiliated individuals,’ she explained.
McNamara teamed up with professors Jeremy Goldbach, Sara Kintzle and Carl Castro of the USC Military and Veterans Programs, as well as Air Force clinical social worker Carrie Lucas, PhD.
In terms of active duty service members, 2% of men identify as gay and 2% identify as bisexual. As for women, 7% identify as lesbian and 9% identify as bisexual.
Research also shows bisexuals (28%) are less likely to be out than gay (71%) and lesbian (77%) soldiers. This means they are less likely to have a community of like-minded individuals and allies to rely upon.
McNamara believes there’s a connection between this lack of support and the mental health of bi vets.
Bisexual veterans, in fact, are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from severe depression. They are also 2.3 times more likely to suffer from PTSD than their straight peers.
Furthermore, bisexuals are also three times more likely to suffer from depression than their gay and lesbian peers. Research highlighted they’re nearly twice as likely to experience PTSD than gay and lesbian vets.
McNamara set out to conduct a thorough statistical analysis using a multi-city sample.
‘Even when I controlled for a wide range of specific demographic and military-related variables that might put some populations at higher risk for certain mental health issues, the results still indicated that bisexual veterans fare more poorly in terms of mental health outcomes,’ she said.