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Research group

Sexual orientation and mental health


Here, the two-fold aim is to study the origins of sexual orientation and to understand the factors which contribute to mental health disparities between sexual minorities and heterosexual populations. Specifically, the research aims to a) understand the biological mechanisms underlying variation in human sexual orientation using methods from experimental psychology, neuropsychology, quantitative genetics, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology; b) to conduct quantitative research on the risk and protective factors responsible for higher rates of common mental health disorders in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) individuals; and c) translate this research into programmes / initiatives that improve the mental health of sexual minority people.


  1. Gender nonconformity and LGBT-related mental health in large datasets (Qazi Rahman, IoP; Katharine Rimes, IoP)
  2. Minority stress and general factors as predictors of mental health outcomes among LGBT people (Liam Timmins, IoP; Qazi Rahman, IoP; Katharine Rimes, IoP).
  3. Quantitative genetics of female sexuality (Andrea Burri, UZH-Zurich; Timothy Spector, KCL; Qazi Rahman, IoP).
  4. Neurodevelopment, sex atypicality and sexual orientation (Qazi Rahman, IoP).
  5. Spatial cognition and sexual orientation (Qazi Rahman, IoP).
  6. Sexual orientation across cultures (Qazi Rahman, IoP; Richard Lippa, California State University-US; Paul Vasey, University of Lethbridge-Canada)


Woodhead, C., Gazard, B., Hatch, S., Rimes, K., & Rahman, Q. (in press). Mental health among inner-city non-heterosexuals: the role of risk factors, protective factors, and place. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences

Burri, A., Spector, T., & Rahman, Q. (2013). A discordant monozygotic twin approach to testing environmental influence on sexual dysfunction in women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42, 961-972.

Burri, A., Clop, A., Hysi, P., Spector, T. D., & Rahman, Q. (2012). A genome-wide association study of female sexual dysfunction. PLos ONE, 7(4): e35041. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035041.

Dickins, T. E., & Rahman, Q. (2012). The extended evolutionary synthesis and the role of soft inheritance in evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Biological Sciences, 279, 2913-2921.

Burri, A., Rahman, Q., & Spector, T. D. (2011). Genetic and environmental risk factors for sexual distress and its association with female sexual dysfunction. Psychological Medicine, 41, 2435-2445.

Burri, A., Cherkas, L. F., Spector, T. D., & Rahman, Q. (2011). Genetic and environmental influences on female sexual orientation, childhood gender typicality and adult gender identity. PLoS ONE, 6 (7): e21982. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021982

Frisell, T., Lichtenstein, P., Rahman, Q., & Langstrom, N. (2010). Psychiatric morbidity associated with same-sex sexual behaviour: Influence of minority stress and familial factors. Psychological Medicine, 40, 315-324.

Langstrom, N., Rahman, Q., Carlstrom, E., & Lichtenstein, P. (2010). Genetic and environmental effects on same-sex sexual behavior: A population study of twins in Sweden. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 75-80.

Rahman, Q., & Koerting, J. (2008). Sexual orientation-related differences in allocentric spatial memory tasks. Hippocampus, 18, 55-63.


2015-2017 Prostate Cancer UK (with Coventry University and University of Birmingham)

2010-2013 EPSRC studentship

Section STAFF

Dr Qazi Rahman


Dr Katharine Rimes

Women's health
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