Pressure to keep up: status imbalance a major factor in stress in gay men

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02/29/2020

The persistence of mental health hardships among gay and bisexual men, which endure even as LGBTQ people gain greater acceptance and civil rights, can be explained at least in part by the corrosive effects of status consciousness, competitiveness and racism within the gay community itself. Those are the striking and potentially controversial findings of a study published in January in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that may broaden appreciation of the unique stressors faced by gay and bisexual men. Gay and lesbian people have a more than fourfold higher rate of suicide than the general population. Among transgender people, the gulf is even wider. LGBTQ people are more than twice as likely as heterosexuals to experience depression and anxiety and to misuse substances, which can all fuel HIV risk. Over the last two decades, an expanding body of scholarship has attributed these disparities to anti-LGBTQ stigma.

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