Homophobia is bad for everyone it seems. Following a recent study that showed that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people living in anti-gay communities die younger, another has revealed that the bigots themselves are also likely to die earlier.
The authors of the study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, set out to determine whether people who harbour anti-gay prejudice experience an elevated mortality risk.
And it seems they do. They found that homophobic people in America tend to die 2.5 years earlier compared to those who don’t have gay prejudices.
Lead author Mark Hatzenbuehler, from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, analysed data from the General Social Survey, in which 20,226 heterosexuals answered questions about their views on gay people. These results were then tied to mortality data from the US National Death Index.
The researchers furthermore found that anti-gay prejudice was specifically linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular-related death.
While they did not determine why being a homophobe is bad for your heart, they offered a possible cause; noting that stress and anti-gay prejudice are probably linked.
“Existing evidence suggests that, for highly prejudiced people, intergroup interactions are stressful. Stress in turn is associated with less healthy behaviour, such as overeating, smoking and heavy drinking. These health behaviours are therefore likely mechanisms linking anti-gay prejudice to mortality,” said the authors.
While wound-up bigots may die a couple of years earlier than their more relaxed counterparts, the victims themselves suffer a great deal more.
Hatzenbuehler recently led another study that found that LGB people who live in anti-gay communities in America are, on average, likely to die 12 years younger than they would if they lived in an accepting environment.