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Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2018 Sep 24. doi: 10.1037/ort0000349. [Epub ahead of print]

Religious freedom restoration acts and sexual minority population health in the United States.

Author information

1
Division of General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
2
Department of Political Science, West Virginia University.
3
Center for LGBT Health Research, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh.
4
Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh.

Abstract

Religious freedom restoration acts (RFRAs) in the United States potentially facilitate discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals (i.e., sexual minorities). In the current investigation, we explored whether a population health metric among sexual minority adults changed over time based on the presence, absence, or introduction of a state RFRA. Data are from 21 of the United States that gathered sexual orientation data from population-based samples of noninstitutionalized adults in the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (CDC, 2015, 2016). The analytic sample included 4,911 sexual minority individuals. Time was measured in 4 3-month quarters (i.e., Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4). For each state, the prevalence of sexual minority adults reporting ≥14 unhealthy days/30 days was calculated. Only Indiana (the only state in the sample that passed an RFRA in 2015) exhibited significant increasing proportions over time of sexual minority adults reporting ≥14 unhealthy days (Q1 = 24.5%, Q2 = 34.8%, Q3 = 41.2%, Q4 = 59.5%; β = 0.50, SE = 0.23, p = .037). Post hoc analyses revealed that unhealthy days did not increase for heterosexual adults in Indiana. Indiana's RFRA could have contributed to the increasing prevalence of unhealthy days among sexual minority adults in that state during 2015. Public health surveillance tools are needed to expedite analyses of the impact of laws on minority population health. (PsycINFO Database Record.

PMID:
30247051
DOI:
10.1037/ort0000349

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