Methods. 4,607 students at seven universities in the U.S. and Canada completed an online survey. Approximately 10% of the sample identified as LGBTQ+. ACEs were measured as peer or community violence, exposure to community or domestic violence, and childhood abuse and neglect. IPV was measured as physical, psychological or sexual violence perpetrated by a current or former intimate partner. A series of linear regressions was conducted to examine relationships among LGBTQ+ identity, ACEs, IPV and depression.
Results. The number of instances of each type of ACE had a weak-to-moderate positive correlation with IPV (r = .14-.28, p =. 01). Experiencing more instances of IPV (β = .19, p < .001), peer violence (β = .57, p < .001), childhood abuse and neglect (β = .38, p < .001) and community violence (β = .83, p = .003) were associated with higher depression scores. When considering all ACEs and IPV, LGBTQ+ people experienced more instances of violence than non-LGBTQ+ people (β = .62, p < .001). LGBTQ+ people also experienced more instances of each type of ACE (β = .48-2.34, p ≤ .001) and IPV (β = 1.24, p = .04) than non-LGBTQ+ people. Non-LGBTQ+ people also reported lower depression than LGBTQ+ people (β = -3.35, p < .001).
Conclusions and Implications. Our findings suggest that LGBTQ+ people are at risk for multiple types of violence as well as depression from childhood into young adulthood. Therefore, routine screening for ACEs and IPV in settings that serve LGBTQ+ people should be implemented to improve their mental wellbeing. Interventions for IPV survivors, which are often targeted toward heterosexual women with male perpetrators, should also be expanded or modified to better address the needs of LGBTQ+ IPV survivors. Our study contributes to the literature on LGBTQ+ IPV and mental health by surveying a large sample, having a non-LGBTQ+ comparison group, and including other types of violence in our analyses. However, future research would benefit from examining differences in these associations between LGBTQ+ identities to better target interventions for those most at risk.