Does Sexual Orientation Relate to Health and Well-Being? Analysis of Adults 50+ Years of Age

TitleDoes Sexual Orientation Relate to Health and Well-Being? Analysis of Adults 50+ Years of Age
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsNelson, CL, Andel, R
JournalGerontologist
Volume60
Issue7
Pagination1282-1290
ISSN Number0016-9013
Keywordsdepression, LGB, Minority Stress Theory
Abstract

Based on the Minority Stress Theory, this article examines the associations between sexual orientation and self-reported measures of physical, mental, and cognitive health, as well as health risk behaviors.The analytical sample included members of the 2016 wave of the Health and Retirement Study aged 50+ years. Binary and ordered logistic regressions were conducted to assess whether being a sexual minority was associated with poorer self-rated physical, mental, and cognitive health, as well as being more likely to engage in health risk behaviors.In analyses using overall and propensity-matched samples, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) participants were about twice as likely to report ever having depression as their heterosexual counterparts but were also more likely to report better self-rated health. The LGB group was more likely to report ever having smoked but were not significantly different in any of the other health risk behaviors.LGB individuals appear to be at greater risk of ever experiencing depression than heterosexual individuals but, at the same time, report better physical health. This may suggest a tendency for resilience. Differences in health risk behavior may also exist. Mental health and other medical professionals should receive special training to better understand the unique problems of LGB individuals.

DOI10.1093/geront/gnz187
Citation Key10.1093/geront/gnz187
PubMed ID31909416