223022 Growing up Gay: Effects of Perceived Discrimination on LGBT Individuals' Health in Indiana

Monday, November 8, 2010

Maureen Gatere, MPH (c) , Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Christopher Fisher, PhD , Department of Health Promotion, Social & Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Gabriela Torre Puckett , Department of Health Services and Research & Administration, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Eric R. Wright, PhD , School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Center for Health Policy, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
Harold Kooreman, MA , IU Center for Health Policy, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
Background: Research shows that lack of support from the medical community on LGBT health needs assessment, awareness and acceptance by healthcare professionals, as well as, contribute to LGBT individuals' reluctance to seek health care. This study looked at perceived discrimination from beyond the health care setting and its effects on LGBT health.

Methods: Participants (n = 237) completed an on-line survey for a larger study of self-identified LGBT persons who grew up in Indiana. Recruitment for this convenience sample involved advertisements in LGBT media and word-of-mouth. Measures for this study included a perceived experienced discrimination scale and several general health measures.

Results: The perceived experienced discrimination scale (Chronbach's = 0.873) mean scores were compared to responses to several general health measures. T-tests showed that individuals reporting higher perceived experiences of discrimination based on sexual orientation were more likely to rate themselves as having fair to poor health (p < 0.01), yet were more likely to have had a checkup in the last 6 months (p < 0.01) and have eaten 5 servings of fruits and vegetables at least 3 times a week (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences for sleep habits, exercise habits, and tobacco use.

Conclusions: The relationship between perceived experienced discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and health is complex. While overall general health appears to be negatively influenced, other healthful behaviors are not. Future research should expand the participant pool and take a more in-depth approach to measuring health behaviors.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe complex relationship between perceived discrimination based on sexual orientation and health

Keywords: Health, Social Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an MPH student at UNMC
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.