Loneliness in sexual minority and heterosexual individuals: a comparative meta-analysis

Paul Gorczynski, Fabio Fasoli

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Introduction: Despite the importance of better understanding how loneliness is associated with physical and mental health symptoms and disorders, and who is at greatest risk, demographic information pertaining to sexuality is often not collected. Although some studies evidence prevalence rates of loneliness amongst sexual minority individuals to be higher when compared to heterosexual individuals, no systematic approaches to examine and compare the literature have been taken. This comparative meta-analysis examined loneliness between sexual minority and heterosexual individuals.

Method: To identify studies, published studies were searched from the following databases MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsychINFO, Scopus, and Cochrane. Studies that were published in English, compared sexual minorities and heterosexuals; measured loneliness; and presented quantitative data were included.

Result: Four articles were included in the review, reporting data from 481 individuals who identified as sexual minorities and 4176 as heterosexuals. The 4 studies showed that individuals who identified as sexual minorities reported higher ratings of loneliness than heterosexuals (d = 0.352, p = 0.019).

Conclusion: Interventions are needed at the individual and societal level to decrease the loneliness experienced by sexual minorities. This is the first paper to provide aggregated data on loneliness that covers the life span amongst sexual minorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-129
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health
Issue number2
Early online date5 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • loneliness
  • sexual minority
  • LGBTQ+
  • hetrosexual
  • meta-analysis
  • mental health


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