A lesbian couple hold hands during a mass wedding ceremony in Mexico City
A lesbian couple hold hands during a mass wedding ceremony in Mexico City June 28, 2014. About 119 couples tied the knot in the event organized by the Miguel Hidalgo borough, local media reported. REUTERS/Bernardo Montoya (MEXICO - Tags: SOCIETY) Reuters

Lesbians are likely to be mentally healthier than bisexual women, according to a study published in the Journal of Public Health.

The study uses data from 2007 Stonewall UK Women's Health Survey and analyses responses from 5,706 bisexual and lesbian women living in the United Kingdom, and aged 14 or more.

According to the study, bisexual women are 64 per cent more likely to report an eating problem, and 37 per cent more likely to have deliberately caused self-harm than lesbians. They are also 26 per cent more likely to have felt depressed and 20 per cent more likely to have suffered from anxiety in the last year than lesbians are.

According to an author of the study, bisexual women are more at risk of being marginalised in society by both gay and lesbian communities as well as by mainstream society. They are less likely to come "out" to their friends, family and colleagues and are less likely to be in a relationship. They are also more likely to face sexual discrimination at work, from healthcare services, from family and educational instutions than lesbians. This does not help their mental health.

The researchers found that older bisexual women had more suicidal thoughts than younger bisexual women. They are more likely to report poor health, and more likely to use marijuana and tranquilisers than lesbian women.

The study, conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, says that these findings are similar to international findings on bisexual and homosexual groups. Further, the authors of the study say that both homosexual and bisexual women report far poorer mental health than heterosexual women, and of the two, bisexual women are far worse off.

Bisexual women are generally afraid to disclose their sexual preference and only 16 per cent of the subjects studied were bisexual. Keeping sexual identity secret is known to be closely associated with poor mental health in sexual-minority women.

A similar survey in 2003 found no difference in mental distress between lesbians and bisexual women, but the authors suggest that legal changes in recent years that help homosexual people may have benefited lesbians more than bisexual women.

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