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Am J Prev Med. 2017 Oct;53(4):559-566. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.05.007. Epub 2017 Jul 28.

Stigma and Health-Related Quality of Life in Sexual Minorities.

Author information

1
Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address: bryn.austin@childrens.harvard.edu.
2
Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
3
Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
4
Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Stigma against sexual minorities is well documented, but its long-term consequences for health-related quality of life (HRQL) are unknown. This study examined stigma-related predictors of sexual orientation disparities in HRQL and their contribution to young adult HRQL disparities.

METHODS:

In 2013, participants (N=7,304, aged 18-31 years) reported sexual orientation (completely heterosexual [CH], mostly heterosexual, bisexual, and lesbian/gay). The EQ5D-5L, preference weighted for the U.S. population, was used to assess HRQL (range, -0.109 [worse than dead] to 1 [full health]). In prior waves conducted during adolescence, participants reported past-year bullying victimization (range, 1 [never] to 5 [several times/week]) and subjective social status (SSS) in their school (range, 1 [top] to 10 [bottom]). Analyses conducted in 2016 used longitudinal, multivariable linear and logistic regression to assess the contribution of bullying victimization and SSS in adolescence to sexual orientation disparities in HRQL in young adulthood, controlling for confounders and stratified by gender.

RESULTS:

Compared with CHs, both female and male sexual minorities reported more bullying victimization and lower SSS in adolescence and lower HRQL in young adulthood (HRQL score among women: mostly heterosexual, 0.878; bisexual, 0.839; lesbian, 0.848; CH, 0.913; HRQL score among men: mostly heterosexual, 0.877; bisexual, 0.882; gay, 0.890; CH, 0.925; all p-values <0.05). When bullying and SSS were added into multivariable models, orientation group effect estimates were attenuated substantially, suggesting bullying and lower SSS in adolescence partly explained HRQL disparities in young adulthood.

CONCLUSIONS:

Stigma-related experiences in adolescence may have lasting adverse effects on sexual minority health in adulthood.

PMID:
28756895
DOI:
10.1016/j.amepre.2017.05.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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