Bisexual women are less likely to be in a relationship and more likely to experience poor mental health and mental distress than lesbians, new research has found.
According to the results, bisexual women were 64% more likely to report an eating problem and 37% more likely to have deliberately self-harmed than lesbians.
They were also 26% more likely to have felt depressed and 20% more likely to have suffered from anxiety in the previous year than lesbians.
"Although bisexual women in our study reported experiencing less sexuality-based discrimination than lesbians, this did not benefit their mental health," said study senior author Ford Hickson from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Bisexual women were less likely to experience sexuality-related discrimination from work, healthcare services, education and family than lesbians, but they were more likely to experience discrimination from friends, the findings showed.
"Although non-hetrosexual women as a group have far poorer mental health than heterosexual women, bisexual women report even worse mental distress than lesbians," lead author Lisa Colledge, who conducted the research at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, added.
"All women deserve equal chances of mental wellbeing and happiness, regardless of their sexuality. Homophobic prejudice is now widely and rightly condemned, specific stigma around bisexual identity needs to be similarly confronted," Colledge pointed out.
For the study, the researchers used data from the 2007 Stonewall UK Women's Health Survey and analysed responses from 5,706 bisexual and lesbian women aged 14 or over.
The study was published in the Journal of Public Health.