Anti-Gay Prejudice and All-Cause Mortality Among Heterosexuals in the United States
Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, PhD, Anna Bellatorre, MA, and Peter Muennig, MD, MPHObjectives.
We determined whether individuals who harbor antigay prejudice experience elevated mortality risk.Methods.
Data on heterosexual sexual orientation (n=20,226, aged 18–89 years), antigay attitudes, and mortality risk factors came from the General Social Survey, which was linked to mortality data from the National Death Index (1988–2008). We used Cox proportional hazard models to examine whether antigay prejudice was associated with mortality risk among heterosexuals.Results. Heterosexuals who reported higher levels of antigay prejudice had higher mortality risk than those who reported lower levels
(hazard ratio [HR]=1.25; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.09, 1.42), with control for multiple risk factors for mortality, including demographics, socioeconomic status, and fair or poor self-rated health. This result translates into a life expectancy difference of approximately 2.5 years
(95% CI=1.0, 4.0 years) between individuals with high versus low levels of antigay prejudice. Furthermore, in sensitivity analyses, antigay prejudice was specifically associated with increased risk of cardiovascular-related causes of death in fully adjusted models (HR=1.29; 95% CI=1.04, 1.60).Conclusions.
The findings contribute to a growing body of research suggesting that reducing prejudice may improve the health of both minority and majority populations