Researchers of what’s been deemed as “the first study to look at the consequences of anti-gay prejudice for mortality” have discovered that lesbian, gay and bisexual people living in less open-minded communities have a shorter life expectancy.
The Columbia University study, which was published online in the Social Science & Medicine journal, found that lesbian, gay and bisexual people in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice lived an average of 12 years less than their counterparts in more accepting environments.
“Our findings indicate that sexual minorities living in communities with higher levels of prejudice die sooner than sexual minorities living in low-prejudice communities, and that these effects are independent of established risk factors for mortality, including household income, education, gender, ethnicity, and age, as well as the average income and education level of residents in the communities where the respondents lived,” the study’s lead author, Mark Hatzenbuehler, an assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, is quoted in a press release as saying.
He added, “In fact, our results for prejudice were comparable to life expectancy differences that have been observed between individuals with and without a high school education.”
The survey examined data over a decade-long period, from 1988 to 2008.
As The Advocate and other publications have pointed out, many of the deaths in the survey were attributed to suicide and cardiovascular diseases in the high-prejudice communities. Meanwhile, LGBT people were also more prone to commit suicide at a younger average age (37.5) than those in more welcoming communities (55.7), while violent deaths were nearly three times more likely in more homophobic areas.
Head here for more information on the study.