Physiological impacts of homophobia

Feb 02, 2011

Young adults who are lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) are at far higher risk for severe mental health problems than their heterosexual peers. New research from Concordia University suggests that the stress of being rejected or victimized because of sexual orientation may disrupt hormonal responses in lesbians, gays and bisexuals.

Recently published as a doctoral thesis in clinical psychology, this investigation examined environmental risks and protective factors that counterbalanced them in LGB youth. "Compared to their heterosexual peers, suicide rates are up to 14 times higher among lesbian, gay and bisexual high school and college students," says Michael Benibgui, who led this investigation as part of his PhD thesis at Concordia's Department of Psychology and Centre for Research in Human Development.

"Depression and anxiety are widespread," he continues. "To learn why this occurs, we studied the physiological impact of homophobic social environments on a group of healthy young LGB adults."

Self loathing, stress hormones and bullying linked

The study examined the link between living in a homophobic environment and 'internalized homophobia,' e.g., feeling negatively about oneself because of one's as LGB.

Individuals who experienced more LGB-related stress – arguments about sexual identity, bullying or discrimination – had higher internalized homophobia and showed increased production of the stress hormone cortisol compared to peers in more positive environments.

What's more, LGB youth who showed more internalized homophobia and abnormal cortisol activity also experienced increased symptoms of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. "This study is among the first to clearly link the experience of homophobia with abnormal cortisol activity," says Benibgui.

Benibgui says abnormal cortisol activity in LGB youth, combined with the vicious cycle of stress, could be further influenced by a complex set of biological, psychological and social factors. "This study shows a clear relation between abnormal cortisol levels and environmental stressors related to homophobia," he says.

Protective factors of social networks

Benibgui also identified protective factors that can help safeguard mental health in young gays, and bisexuals. His research confirms that social support from parents and peers have protective effects. "LGB young adults who experienced more homophobic discrimination, yet felt accepted and supported by their peers, showed very few symptoms of depression," he says.

These findings underline the impact – both physical and mental – that homophobia may have on LGB young adults. "The effect on mental health of bullying in schools has received much attention," says Benibgui. "Our study supports the notion that homophobic bullying can lead to physical and ."

Preventative interventions are needed to protect vulnerable lesbian, gay or bisexual youth, Benibgui stresses, to discourage homophobic and heterosexist behaviors from peers and communities.

Paul Hastings, a former Concordia psychology professor who supervised Benibgui's thesis research, says that this study should push the conversation about the impact of homophobia.

"This study is one part of a much larger and greatly needed dialogue on the impacts that prejudice, discrimination and victimization have on healthy development and well-being in young people," says Dr. Hastings, an international member of the Centre for Research in Human Development and now a professor at the University of California, Davis. "We need to promote acceptance and respect for the diversity of our population – including sexual diversity – at all levels: government, community, schools and homes."

Explore further: Impact of childhood bullying still evident after 40 years

More information: gradworks.umi.com/NR/67/NR67340.html

Provided by Concordia University

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freethinking
1 / 5 (4) Feb 03, 2011
More garbage from pro-gay progressive professors, who want to use tradegy to promote their causes.

Is mental illness the cause or effect of homosexuality? How about we help these people overcome their problems so that they can live normal lives? Oh wait, cant do that, it might help these people, then progressives can't exploit them.

Then there are many people who for other reasons are discriminated and victimized. Do they have higher suicide rate, and higher rates of mental illness? Why no study on that?

Also define what homophobia is? (Progressives hate definitions.) Is it not accepting homosexuality as normal and good? If thats the case, I'm a smokeaphobe, drunkdriving aphobe), violence (violenceaphob), prematitalsexaphobe, adulteraphobe, etc.

Many people on this board have christaphobia, so they too need to be re-educated. Oh wait, for progressives christophobia is acceptable.
Terrible_Bohr
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 03, 2011
More garbage from pro-gay progressive professors, who want to use tradegy to promote their causes.

The article mentions Benibgui is a doctoral student, not a professor. However, it makes no mention of his political views.


Is mental illness the cause or effect of homosexuality?

Neither. According to this study, you take the homosexual out of an abusive environment and they lose their symptoms of depression. The depression is clearly related to the unfair treatment they recieve from ignorant folk.
How about we help these people overcome their problems so that they can live normal lives? Oh wait, cant do that, it might help these people, then progressives can't exploit them.

Yes, we should help them by treating them as any other random member of our species. It's you who can't come up with even that much tolerance. Would Jesus be proud of you?
Terrible_Bohr
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 03, 2011
Then there are many people who for other reasons are discriminated and victimized. Do they have higher suicide rate, and higher rates of mental illness? Why no study on that?

You're on the internet; why not give Google a spin? Is it becasue you might find answers you don't want to hear?

Also define what homophobia is? (Progressives hate definitions.)

Usually, people use the definitions of words listed in the dictionary. And guess what: they have one of those on the internet, too! It's your lucky day!
Is it not accepting homosexuality as normal and good? If thats the case, I'm a smokeaphobe, drunkdriving aphobe), violence (violenceaphob), prematitalsexaphobe, adulteraphobe, etc.

You're a factaphobe, no doubt.
Terrible_Bohr
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 03, 2011
Many people on this board have christaphobia, so they too need to be re-educated. Oh wait, for progressives christophobia is acceptable.

To be afraid of something, one must believe in it first. The religious people on this board may be afraid of christ's judgment, so they would be "christaphobes". The term wouldn't apply to the secular posters. If you had bothered to use that dictionary, you might understand this better.

Anyway, the real thing to be afraid of are people full of irrational hatred and prejudice; people who will ignore reality and abuse others on the word of a fantasy book.
freethinking
1 / 5 (3) Feb 04, 2011
TB, find governmental definitions of homophobia. It ranges from negative attitudes or aversion for/from homosexuality.

Using the commonly used definitions, means anyone who isn't homosexual has homophobia. If you want your kids to be hetrosexual means you have homophobia. If you don't believe homosexuality should be promoted means you have homophobia.

So according to progressive definitions, for you not to have homophobia you must be a homosexual who wants kids to be homosexual and must want to promote the homosexual lifestyle.

Progressives make me laugh when they say conservatives are prejudice. I have not met or communicated with one Progressive who are not prejudice.
Terrible_Bohr
5 / 5 (2) Feb 04, 2011
Homophobia doesn't need to have a precise legal definition; it's not necessarily illegal to be homophobic. Is there a legal definition for racism? No, but crimes can be judged to qualify as hate crimes in court. There is no need to have a precise legal definition for homophobia, as there is no legislation directly pertaining to it.

As for a colloquial meaning, I think the dictionary's definition should be sufficient. If you are being called a homophobe by progressives, do you really care? I'm under the impression you don't have high regard for them. Just don't do anything that's illegal to do to any human being, and you probably don't need to care much about the meaning of the word at all.

freethinking
1 / 5 (3) Feb 14, 2011
The term Homophobia is thrown at people and is used to shut them up or discriminate against them. Teachers have been fired for being writing against same sex marriage, printers have been fined for not printing pro-homosexual material, etc. etc.

I don't care if you think I'm homophobic (which I'm not), but when the law uses vague terminology that is very dangerous.

There should be no such things as hate crimes. Only actions should be judged, not perceved thoughts.
freethinking
1 / 5 (3) Feb 14, 2011
I agree that we need to bee afraid of people who are full of irrational hatred and prejudice of all stripes; people who will ignore reality and abuse others. In the last 100 years, atheists, progressives, fascists, have murdered and taken away more religious, parental, and business rights than any religion, including radical muslims.

However stating this fact, makes me a hater according to athiests and progressives.

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