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Psychol Aging. 2008 Mar;23(1):62-9. doi: 10.1037/0882-7974.23.1.62.

Stress and coping among gay men: age and ethnic differences.

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  • 1Department of Geriatric Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1759, USA.


Previous studies suggest that perceived stigmatization of sexual minority status, ethnicity, and age are associated with negative mental health outcomes, and other studies suggest that coping styles may influence these outcomes. However, no studies have examined these relationships among gay men of varying ethnicities and age groups. Three hundred eighty-three Black and White, younger, middle-aged, and older adult gay men completed measures of perceived stigmatization, coping style, and mental health outcomes. Black older adult gay men reported significantly higher levels of perceived ageism than the older White group, significantly higher levels of perceived racism than the younger Black group, significantly higher levels of homonegativity than the younger Black and the White groups, and were more likely to use disengaged coping styles than White gay men. However, Black older adult gay men did not experience significantly higher levels of negative mental health outcomes. Results suggest that further research should examine how older Black gay men, who perceive higher levels of stigma while reporting greater use of less effective coping styles, do not appear to be experiencing more negative mental health outcomes as a result.

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