Problem: It starts with stress. Chronic stress has a well-known link to greater risk for disease, and even death. Stress comes from many sources, of course, but one of those sources can be prejudice. Previous research has shown that the stress hormone cortisol increased in white people with high levels of racial prejudice when they were interacting with someone of another race. And a different survey found that having a high level of prejudice against black people was linked to higher mortality rates in whites.
In a new study, published in American Journal of Public Health, researchers at Columbia University and the University of Nebraska looked at whether anti-gay prejudice could similarly be linked to mortality.
Methodology: The study uses data from the General Social Survey-National Death Index, looking at GSS results from 1988 to 2002, and mortality information from the NDI up to 2008, only looking at heterosexuals. To measure homophobia, the GSS uses questions like “Do you think that sexual relations between two adults of the same sex is always wrong, almost always wrong, wrong only sometimes, or not wrong at all?” and “Should a man who admits that he is homosexual be allowed to teach in a college or university, or not?”