Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Resolution of disparities in obesity and depression prevalence between lesbian and heterosexual women in Pittsburgh: results from the Esther Study

Simenson, Ashley (2019) Resolution of disparities in obesity and depression prevalence between lesbian and heterosexual women in Pittsburgh: results from the Esther Study. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

[img] Microsoft Word
Submitted Version

Download (94kB)


Compared to heterosexual adult women, lesbian women experience higher rates of many chronic disease outcomes including depression, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Additionally, lesbian women report higher rates of risky health behaviors such as hazardous drinking and cigarette smoking. However, little longitudinal research has been done to examine changes in disparities between lesbian and heterosexual adult women. The aim of this study was to compare chronic disease outcomes and risk behaviors in lesbian and heterosexual women across two data collection points roughly ten years apart and to characterize any health disparities and changes in those disparities over time. A total of 1084 women were initially recruited from Pittsburgh, PA to participate in the Epidemiologic Study of HEalth Risk in women (ESTHER) study, and N=483 women, 270 of whom were lesbian, ultimately completed a baseline survey between 2003 and 2006 and a follow-up survey in 2015 or 2016. Participants completed a questionnaire at both baseline and follow-up and completed a clinic visit for the baseline study to provide biometric data. At baseline, lesbian participants reported higher rates of obesity (p=0.03), depression (p=0.02), smoking (p=0.04), and elevated C-reactive protein levels (p=0.05). By the time of the follow-up survey ten years later, lesbian women continued to have higher rates of smoking (p=0.04), but the disparity in depression (p=0.53) and obesity (p=0.24) rates had resolved. To our knowledge, this is the first study to report a resolution in obesity or depression disparities between lesbian and heterosexual women. Future research is necessary to determine if other disparities, such as respiratory conditions, appear over time and how lesbian women's health may continue to improve relative to heterosexual women and stem this public health inequity.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Simenson, Ashleysimenson@pitt.edusimenson
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGlynn, Nancyglynnn@pitt.eduGlynnnUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMarkovic, Ninaninam@pitt.eduninamUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberKinsky, Suzannekinskys@upmc.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 8 April 2019
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 35
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Public Health Genetics
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2019 23:37
Last Modified: 01 May 2022 05:15


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item