Black and Hispanic gays and lesbians do not have as many mental disorders as their white counterparts, despite being the recipients of more racism and homphobia, according to a new study.
Typically, black and Hispanic lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are the recipients of racism and homophobia, usually directed by white individuals, but know how to deal with these prejudices, researchers wrote in a study by the Mailman School of Public Health. However, white gays and lesbians reported more mental disorders.
“These findings suggest that black lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals have effective ways to cope with prejudice related to racism and homophobia” said Dr. Ilan H. Meyer, associate professor of clinical sociomedical sciences at the Mailman School and principal investigator of the study.
“The finding regarding younger cohorts of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals is consistent with social stress theories that predicted that the liberalization of social attitudes toward homosexuality over the past few decades can lead to a decline in stress and related mental disorders and suicide among lesbians, gay men, and bisexual individuals," Meyer said in a news release.
In contrast to the findings, researchers studied 388 white, black and Latino residents of New York City, ages 18 to 59-years-old, who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and found that more black and Latino gay men, lesbians and bisexuals reported a history of suicide attempts.
Younger lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, across all ethnic and race groups, ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 44, were compared with 45 to 59-year-olds and had a lower prevalence of mental disorders. These younger individuals also had fewer suicide attempts.
In addition to the primary findings, the study also reported that bisexuals had a higher level of substance use, not anxiety or mood disorders and confirmed previous observations that gay men and women do not differ in the prevalence of disorders.