Study finds that homophobic people die younger

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A study soon to be published has found that straight people who hold anti-gay views are more likely to die younger than those who don’t.

The February issue of the American Journal of Public Health will contain the study which included 20,226 respondents between 1988 and 2008.

4,216 of those involved in the study died by the end of the period.

The study found that those who were not prejudiced against gay people lived on average 2.5 years more than those who were.

Researchers led by Mark L Hatzenbuehler of Columbia University wrote: “Anti-gay prejudice is associated with elevated mortality risk among heterosexuals, over and above multiple established risk factors for mortality.”

The study linked the mortality rates of respondents on the survey to their responses to four questions:

  • If some people in your community suggested that a book in favor of homosexuality should be taken out of your public library, would you favor removing this book, or not?
  • Should a man who admits that he is a homosexual be allowed to teach in a college or university, or not?
  • Suppose a man who admits that he is a homosexual wanted to make a speech in your community. Should he be allowed to speak, or not?
  • Do you think that sexual relations between two adults of the same sex is always wrong, almost always wrong, wrong only sometimes, or not wrong at all?

Researchers conceded that the questions only represented “a limited range of potential indices of anti-gay prejudice,” however this could indicate that the effect of the prejudice could be wider-reaching than the study could gauge.

In order to ensure that other factors linked to the anti-gay views were not affecting the results, researchers controlled variables like age, income, education, marital status, gender, racial prejudice and religiosity.

The study found a “2.5-year life expectancy difference between individuals with high versus low levels of anti-gay prejudice.” Specifically, they wrote, anti-gay prejudice was “associated with increased risk of cardiovascular-related causes of death.”

This study did not look at why there may be a link between anti-gay prejudices and shorter life expectancy, however its authors speculated that anger, increased cardiac responses, and as a result hypertension (high blood-pressure), or heart disease could be to blame.

Broader studies have found that the impact of chronic stress on the lives of people can be extremely bad for health overall.

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