Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Stress, and Health
Cochran, Jennifer Anne
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This study examined health-related physical body measurements and experiences of heterosexist stress (consistent with Meyer’s minority stress model) among sexual minority individuals and heterosexual individuals residing in the Texas Panhandle region of the United States. Height, weight, BMI, body fat percentage, body muscle percentage, visceral fat, body age, waist circumference, hip circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, blood pressure, and heart rate were assessed for 356 male and female participants. Results indicated that the lesbian participants presented with overall poorer health when compared to the bisexual female sample and the heterosexual female control group, as indicated by the body health index (i.e., a component extracted from principal component analysis that is compiled of the previously mentioned measurements associated with body health). Also, the majority of the lesbian sample was found to be obese, compared to the heterosexual female comparison group and the bisexual sample. These findings confirm that lesbian women are at a higher risk for overall poorer health, obesity, and obesity-related disorders when compared to their heterosexual and bisexual peers, but no mediating factors for these differences was determined.