Study finds gay people in prejudiced communities likely to die prematurely
A new study finds that gay people living in neighbourhoods where anti-gay prejudice is high can expect to die 12 years earlier than their peers in least prejudiced communities.
Columbia University researchers found that gay people in the most homophobic neighbourhoods were more than three times as likely to be murdered and a third more likely to die from heart disease than their counterparts in broadminded communities.
The study, appearing in the Journal Social Science & Medicine, also reveals higher suicide rates in prejudiced areas with those effected to be younger, committing suicide at an average age of 38 compared to 56 for those from the least biased areas.
Based on their study, 92 per cent of respondents living in low-prejudice communities were still alive while only 78 per cent living in high-prejudice communities were still living.
“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,” Mark Hatzenbuehler, lead author of the study said.