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Health Psychol. 2014 Oct;33(10):1185-94. doi: 10.1037/hea0000126. Epub 2014 Aug 18.

Stressful life events, sexual orientation, and cardiometabolic risk among young adults in the United States.

Author information

1
Department of Sociomedical Sciences.
2
Department of Society, Human Development, and Health.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Washington.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The goal of the present study was to examine whether sexual minority young adults are more vulnerable to developing cardiometabolic risk following exposure to stressful life events than heterosexual young adults.

METHOD:

Data came from the National Longitudinal Study for Adolescent Health (Shin, Edwards, & Heeren, 2009; Brummett et al., 2013), a prospective nationally representative study of U.S. adolescents followed into young adulthood. A total of 306 lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) respondents and 6,667 heterosexual respondents met inclusion criteria for this analysis. Measures of cumulative stressful life events were drawn from all 4 waves of data collection; sexual orientation and cardiometabolic biomarkers were assessed at Wave 4 (2008-2009).

RESULTS:

Gay/bisexual men exposed to 1-2 (β = 0.71, p = .01) and 5+ (β = 0.87, p = .01) stressful life events had a statistically significant elevation in cardiometabolic risk, controlling for demographics, health behaviors, and socioeconomic status. Moreover, in models adjusted for all covariates, lesbian/bisexual (β = 0.52, p = .046) women with 5+ stressful life events had a statistically significant elevation in cardiometabolic risk. There was no relationship between stressful life events and cardiometabolic risk among heterosexual men or women.

CONCLUSION:

Stressful life events during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood place LGB young adults at heightened risk for elevated cardiometabolic risk as early as young adulthood. The mechanisms underlying this relationship require future study.

PMID:
25133830
PMCID:
PMC4436691
DOI:
10.1037/hea0000126
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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