Minority Stress, Structural Stigma, and Physical Health Among Sexual and Gender Minority Individuals: Examining the Relative Strength of the Relationships

Ann Behav Med. 2022 Jun 29;56(6):573-591. doi: 10.1093/abm/kaab051.

Abstract

Background: Sexual and gender minority (SGM; i.e., non-heterosexual and transgender or gender-expansive, respectively) people experience physical health disparities attributed to greater exposure to minority stress (experiences of discrimination or victimization, anticipation of discrimination or victimization, concealment of SGM status, and internalization of stigma) and structural stigma.

Purpose: To examine which components of minority stress and structural stigma have the strongest relationships with physical health among SGM people.

Methods: Participants (5,299 SGM people, 1,902 gender minority individuals) were from The Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality (PRIDE) Study. Dominance analyses estimated effect sizes showing how important each component of minority stress and structural stigma was to physical health outcomes.

Results: Among cisgender sexual minority women, transmasculine individuals, American Indian or Alaskan Native SGM individuals, Asian SGM individuals, and White SGM individuals a safe current environment for SGM people had the strongest relationship with physical health. For gender-expansive individuals and Black, African American, or African SGM individuals, the safety of the environment for SGM people in which they were raised had the strongest relationship with physical health. Among transfeminine individuals, victimization experiences had the strongest relationship with physical health. Among Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish individuals, accepting current environments had the strongest relationship with physical health. Among cisgender sexual minority men prejudice/discrimination experiences had the strongest relationship with physical health.

Conclusion: Safe community environments had the strongest relationships with physical health among most groups of SGM people. Increasing safety and buffering the effects of unsafe communities are important for SGM health.

Keywords: Community safety; Minority stress; Physical health; Sexual and gender minority; Structural stigma; Transgender.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bullying*
  • Crime Victims*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*
  • Social Stigma