Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 106, Issue 8, pp e533–e538 | Cite as

Understanding young bisexual women’s sexual, reproductive and mental health through syndemic theory

  • Corey E. Flanders
  • Giselle Gos
  • Cheryl Dobinson
  • Carmen H. Logie
Qualitative Research


OBJECTIVES: We sought to understand how young bisexual women in Toronto perceive their sexual and reproductive health needs, the challenges to achieving those needs, and the factors contributing both positively and negatively to their sexual and reproductive health.

METHODS: We conducted a community-based research project that included an advisory committee of young bisexual women, academic partners, and a community health centre. Four 2-hour focus group sessions were conducted with a total of 35 participants. Data were analyzed through a constructivist grounded theory approach using Nvivo software.

RESULTS: Participants’ discussion of their sexual and reproductive health indicated that they perceived social marginalization, particularly biphobia and monosexism, as a significant challenge to their health. Participants also discussed their sexual, reproductive and mental health as interconnected.

CONCLUSIONS: Young bisexual women in this study perceived their sexual, reproductive and mental health as interconnected and negatively influenced by social marginalization. This perception is in line with syndemic research that illustrates the interrelationship between psychosocial and sexual health. Researchers should further explore the utility of syndemic theory in understanding the complexity of young bisexual women’s health.


Bisexuality sexual health mental health young adult 


OBJECTIFS : Nous avons cherché à savoir comment les jeunes femmes bisexuelles à Toronto perçoivent leurs besoins de santé sexuelle et génésique, les difficultés à combler ces besoins et les facteurs qui contribuent positivement et négativement à leur santé sexuelle et génésique.

MÉTHODE : Nous avons mené un projet de recherche communautaire incluant un comité consultatif de jeunes femmes bisexuelles, de partenaires des milieux universitaires et de représentants d’un centre de santé communautaire. Quatre séances de discussion collective de deux heures chacune ont été menées avec 35 participantes en tout. Les données ont été analysées selon l’approche constructiviste de la théorisation ancrée à l’aide du logiciel Nvivo.

RÉSULTATS : La discussion par les participantes de leur santé sexuelle et génésique a indiqué qu’elles perçoivent la marginalisation sociale, particulièrement la biphobie et le monosexisme, comme posant un défi considérable pour leur santé. Les participantes voient également leur santé sexuelle, leur santé génésique et leur santé mentale comme étant interreliées.

CONCLUSIONS : Les jeunes femmes bisexuelles de notre étude perçoivent leur santé sexuelle, leur santé génésique et leur santé mentale comme étant interreliées et négativement influencées par la marginalisation sociale. Cette perception est conforme à la recherche syndémique, qui illustre l’interpénétration entre la santé psychosociale et sexuelle. Les chercheurs devraient pousser leur exploration de l’utilité de la théorie syndémique pour comprendre la complexité de la santé des jeunes femmes bisexuelles.

Mots Clés

bisexualité santé sexuelle santé mentale jeune adulte 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Corey E. Flanders
    • 1
  • Giselle Gos
    • 2
  • Cheryl Dobinson
    • 2
  • Carmen H. Logie
    • 3
  1. 1.Social and Epidemiological ResearchCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Planned Parenthood TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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