Minority stress and physical health among sexual minority individuals

J Behav Med. 2015 Feb;38(1):1-8. doi: 10.1007/s10865-013-9523-8. Epub 2013 Jul 18.


This study examined the effects of minority stress on the physical health of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals (LGBs). Participants (N = 396) completed baseline and one year follow-up interviews. Exposure to stress and health outcomes were assessed with two methods: a subjective self-appraisal method and a method whereby two independent judges externally rated event narratives using standardized criteria. The odds of experiencing a physical health problem at follow-up were significantly higher among LGBs who experienced an externally rated prejudice event during the follow-up period compared to those who did not. This association persisted after adjusting for experiences of general stressful life events that were not related to prejudice. Self-appraised minority stress exposures were not associated with poorer physical health at 1-year follow-up. Prejudice-related stressful life events have a unique deleterious impact on health that persists above and beyond the effect of stressful life events unrelated to prejudice.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status*
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Prejudice / psychology
  • Self Report
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis*
  • Young Adult