Depression and Associated Factors Among Gay and Heterosexual Male University Students in Nigeria
Homosexuality is a recognized risk factor for depression in high-income countries; however, there is little research investigating the relationship between depression and sexual orientation in developing countries, especially in Africa. In this first study to investigate psychopathology in sexual minority men in Nigeria, the prevalence rates of depression in Nigerian gay and heterosexual individuals were compared as well as the explanatory power of risk and resilience factors in both groups. Eighty-one gay and 81 heterosexual male university students were, respectively, recruited from the Obafemi Awolowo University. Both groups were assessed for depression and other clinical factors, including alcohol and other substance use, suicidal ideation, and resilience. Gay students were further assessed for sexuality-related variables, including minority stress factors such as internalized homophobia and perceived stigma. The prevalence rates of depression among gay and heterosexual students were, respectively, 16 and 4.9% (OR 3.7; 95% CI 1.15–11.82), and this increased likelihood for depression was significantly attenuated by resilience. Clinical factors correlated significantly with depression in both groups, explaining 31% of the variance in depression in gay and heterosexual students, respectively. Sexuality-related variables including internalized homophobia and perceived stigma were further associated with depression in gay students—accounting for a further 14% of the variance of depression in gay students. The findings highlight the importance of minority stress factors in understanding depression among non-heterosexual individuals in a developing country, and the need for further research to investigate the mechanisms of these relationships in such settings.
KeywordsHomosexuality Sexual orientation Depression Nigeria
The authors would like to thank Mr. Rashidi Williams, the director of Queer Alliance, who provided support in recruiting the initial gay participants in this study.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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