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Past Trump presidency caused mental stress for LGBTQ community

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Past Trump presidency caused mental stress for LGBTQ community

We’ve always known that the past Trump presidency had caused a lot of mental distress for the LGBTQ people, but this time, a study has come out to confirm this stress.

The new research is set to be published in the journal Economics & Human Biology.

Assessing the mental health of the LGBTQ community

Masanori Kuroki, an associate professor of economics at Arkansas Tech University, conducted the research using data collected from 2014 to early 2020 by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

This is an annual survey run by The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to assess risk factors and behaviors among American adults.

During this annual survey, about 450,000 adults are interviewed every year. This provided Kuroki with a sample size of approximately 1.06 million American adults.

“I was curious to know whether the average mental health among LGBT people worsened during the Trump presidency, as he and his administration were perceived as anti-LGBT,” Kuroki said.

Respondents in the survey were asked how many days during the past 30 days their mental health was “not good.” Those who answered “30” were considered to have experienced “extreme mental distress.”

The effect of the past Trump presidency on the LGBTQ people

The research pointed out that while LGBTQ people were more likely than non-LGBTQ people to report extreme mental distress even before Donald Trump became president, this went up in early 2016.

Kuroki said there was “a marked increase” between the two periods. He also told PsyPost that the findings suggested that “the Trump administration possibly adversely affected mental health” among the LGBTQ people.

In 2014, LGBTQ individuals suffering from extreme mental distress was around 7.7%, while non-LGBT individuals were 4.8%. By 2019, LGBTQ adults that were suffering went up to 12% while non-LGBTQ was still around 5%.

What’s more, the LGBTQ people living in states where Trump won had higher increase in extreme mental distress as compared to those living in states were Trump lost to Hillary Clinton.

Kuroki’s hypothesis linked the possibility that anti-LGBT sentiments and policies set off higher levels of mental distress among LGBTQ people in the wake of Trump becoming president in 2016.

Linking the past Trump presidency to anti-LGBTQ sentiment

Kuroki wrote in his study, “Before he became President of the United States, Trump was widely considered as an anti-LGBT presidential candidate, who would roll back critical legal protections if he was elected president.”

“Since taking office, the Trump administration adopted a broad anti-LGBT agenda that threatened the rights of LGBT people,” he noted.

“The results indeed revealed a concerning rise in poor mental health among LGBT people after Trump’s presidency became a real possibility,” he said.

However, Kuroki warned that, “The finding is not causal, and we cannot confidently attribute the rise in mental distress among LGBT to Trump or his administration.”

This is because the BRFSS has cross-sectional data, rather than longitudinal. This means that the survey talks to a new sample of individuals every year rather than talking to the same individuals over time.

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