Homophobic? You'll Die Sooner

Study finds link between anti-gay bias, shorter life expectancy

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 19, 2014 8:41 AM CST

(Newser) – If you're homophobic, here's one reason to rethink that: It might send you to an earlier grave. A new study looked at social attitudes in America over two recent decades, compared them with death rates, and found that subjects with high levels of anti-gay prejudice had a life expectancy that was 2.5 years less than those with low levels of prejudice. Why? Researchers aren't sure, but they think homophobes may have higher levels of stress, Pacific Standard reports.

Anti-gay bias "was specifically associated with cardiovascular-related causes of death," researchers write, and "existing evidence suggests that, for highly prejudiced people, intergroup interactions are stressful. Stress in turn is associated with less healthy behavior, such as overeating, smoking, and heavy drinking." Researchers also found that anti-gay prejudice was even worse for life expectancy than racial prejudice. And the same study found a striking result among the targets of homophobia: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people living in communities with high levels of homophobia lived an average of 12 years less than those living in more open-minded communities, the Huffington Post reports.

Qween Amar from Orlando, Fla., left, dances by Margie Phelps, right, a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 26, 2013, where the court will hear...   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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