This study won the DS Raju Award, given by the south India branch of the Indian Psychiatric Society, for the best research paper presented by a postgraduate student, in 2022. The resultant paper was published online on 6th February 2023 in the Journal of Homosexuality.
In accordance with the publisher's policies, we have made the final submitted version available for download. This paper was featured in The News Minute on February 15, 2023 and in Mathrubhumi on February 17, 2023 and in an article published on March 4, 2023.
The abstract is provided below:
Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) have been reported worldwide and have adverse psychiatric consequences. However, no data are available for India or Kerala. We assessed the prevalence of SOCE, its characteristics, and mental health aspects among LGBT+ individuals in Kerala. This cross-sectional survey used snowball sampling. An online questionnaire collected sociodemographic information and history and characteristics of SOCE. Religiosity and SOCE-associated distress were evaluated using 6-point Likert scales. Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) screened for depressive symptoms; its ninth question assessed death wishes and self-harm thoughts. Generalized Anxiety Disorder Assessment (GAD-7) screened for anxiety symptoms. Participants’ (n = 130) mean age was 26.80 ± 7.12 years. Most common biological sex (63.1%) and gender identity (50.8%) were male, and sexual orientation was gay(42.3%). Prevalence of SOCE was 45.4%. In SOCE group, 39% reported very severe distress. SOCE was most commonly self-prompted (47.5%), performed through psychotherapy (28.8%), and performed by doctors (28.8%). SOCE group had significantly higher religiosity scores (t = 2.61, p = .01). Among cisgender men, 48.48% had SOCE history, against 28.57% among cisgender women (χ2 = 3.19, p = .07). SOCE is highly prevalent among the LGBT+ community in Kerala, with high associated distress. Multi-level approaches are necessary to mitigate this problem.