Associations Between Trauma and Health Behaviors and Outcomes Among Sexual Minoritized Adults: A Scoping Review

Vanessa L. Parker, Janet M. Liechty, Nicole P. Cantoni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Sexual minoritized (SM) adults experience health disparities and report higher rates of trauma history compared to heterosexual adults. This scoping review synthesizes the extant literature that investigates associations between trauma and physical health among SM adults. It also describes research instruments utilized to assess trauma in relation to health outcomes among SM adults. We searched CINAHL, LGBT+ Life, PsycINFO, and PubMed to identify studies meeting inclusion criteria: peer-reviewed, English, assessed trauma as an independent variable, and assessed health behaviors or outcomes among SM adults. From 587 nonduplicate articles, 69 full texts were reviewed; 18 met criteria and were included in this review. To enhance rigor, we utilized the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Scoping Reviews checklist. Most (n = 12) of the included studies were cross-sectional. Trauma was assessed 16 different ways, including 9 validated measures, in relation to 5 health behaviors and 17 health conditions. Trauma was operationalized by history of childhood sexual abuse, adverse childhood experiences, lifetime rape, current symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and lifetime victimization among SM adults. All but one study found associations between trauma and one or more unfavorable health behaviors or outcomes. Studies used widely heterogeneous instruments to assess trauma, health, and SM identity. Greater specification and standardization of measurement is needed, along with contextualized assessments of trauma and its impact on health such as sexual minority stress-related victimization and resilience, and post-traumatic growth and recovery processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • health
  • health behaviors
  • scoping review
  • sexual minority adults
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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