Sexual minority people (e.g., lesbian, gay and bisexual) are at substantially higher risk of multiple health problems, including mental and physical health (Semelyen et al. BMC Psychitr 16, Article 67, 2016). However, the measurement of sexual minority status as sexual orientation is inexact and this may result in the imprecise quantification of the aforementioned health disparities. Aims: This PhD project will conduct a robust quantification of sexual orientation across large-scale UK cohort and national probability samples (those deposited in the UK Data Service), and test whether resulting group membership predicts multiple health outcomes in these samples and combined. Techniques and skills: The PhD will use sophisticated data analytic techniques in these large and representative samples to test the structure of sexual orientation (e.g., whether it is dimensional or not). Modelling techniques will then be used to test what variables (e.g., demographic, psychological, and developmental) predicts group membership, test competing data analytic approaches, and whether group membership predicts health outcomes and type. The candidate will also learn to conduct research with under-represented populations in biomedical sciences (sexual minorities). Objectives, year 1: Systematic/meta-analytic review of sexual minority measurement and sub-group associations with health outcomes; data access/ethics approvals; acquire training in modelling and big data analysis techniques. Objectives, years 2 and 3: formal testing (see above), including tests of competing approaches (e.g., latent variable versus taxometric) and prediction (health outcomes); identify factors that mediate/moderate group differences; write-up and dissemination. Candidates should have interests in handling large datasets, statistics, health inequities, sexuality and gender.
Classification and quantification of sexual minority group membership and the prediction of multiple health disparities
One representative publication from each co-supervisor:
Xu, Y., & Rahman, Q. (In press). Sexual orientation disparities in the developmental trajectories of emotional and behavioral difficulties from childhood to early adolescence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.13603
Rimes, K. A., Ion, D., Wingrove, J., & Carter, B. (2019). Sexual orientation differences in psychological treatment outcomes for depression and anxiety: National cohort study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 877, 577–589. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000416