In this series of article reviews, we will dissect the latest research papers important to mental health education and advocacy.

Today, we will be reviewing the paper Multilevel stigma and depression among a national sample of Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ adolescents in the United States by Skyler D Jackson, Tyler D Harvey, Ryan J Watson, Kobe Pereira, Kirsty A Clark.

Introduction to Article

This article was written in 2023 by Jackson et al. to determine the effects of stigma on the mental health of Black/Latinx LGBTQ+ youth. The authors are responding to a lack of research on the effects of multiple types of stigma (racial discrimination and heterosexism) on mental health. Their focus on youth also addresses the relative lack of emphasis on the effects of stigmatization on the mental health of younger people. This article focuses on the role of structural stigma (laws and attitudes that benefit/harm LGBTQ+ people) and bullying in the presence of depression symptoms in Black/Latinx youth.


The authors used the LGBTQ+ Teen Survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). From there, they selected those between 13-17 years old, spoke English, lived in the United States, and were Black or Latinx. In the end, the study selected 2,561 eligible respondents. Respondents then completed the Perception of Teasing Scale to determine levels of perceived bullying and the Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale to determine the presence of depressive symptoms. Additionally, the researchers determined implicit attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people in the home state of the respondents, as well as policy-focused indicators (proportion of LGBTQ+ officials, presence of Don’t Say Gay laws, protections for LGBTQ+ youth, etc.). Using these, the authors determined the relationship between structural factors (implicit attitudes and policies), bullying, and depressive symptoms.


Endorsement of experience of racist and homophobic bullying was associated with an increased likelihood of depressive symptoms. Even when analyzed together, these factors remained independent. Protective legislation for LGBTQ+ youth was associated with a reduced presence of depressive symptoms, while implicit attitudes towards LGBTQ+ were negatively associated with depressive symptoms (the more positive implicit attitudes were, the less depressive symptoms were present).

In summary, bullying and structural stigma were positively and significantly associated with depressive symptoms in the expected directions.

However, we wanted to point out that some of the data sources the authors used needed to be updated. For instance, support for policies and laws that protect LGBTQ+ individuals was a dataset that terminated in 2008. In fact, most of the datasets surrounding policy-based indicators were last updated in 2015, and much has changed since then in the realm of LGBTQ+ politics.

ARE U Takeaways

  • While this study focused on younger respondents, research suggests that adults are negatively impacted by stigmatizing forces as well.
  • It is critical to understand that sources of depression are external and internal. This study demonstrates just how important anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies are in the workplace, as these protections improve the mental health of workers and also construct a welcoming, empowering work environment that prioritizes the well-being of employees who may be at more of a risk of stigmatization that leads to mental health issues.


Jackson, S. D., Harvey, T. D., Watson, R. J., Pereira, K., & Clark, K. A. (2023). Multilevel stigma and depression among a national sample of Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ adolescents in the United States. Journal of Psychopathology and Clinical Science, 132(5), 577–589.