Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Coming Out of the Closet Often Leads to Better Health

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals who make known their sexual orientation to others had lower levels of cortisol and fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to findings by Canadian researchers led by Sonia Lupien, Ph.D., director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress at Louis H. Lafontaine Hospital, a part of the Université de Montréal.

They tested 87 people with an average age of 25. They took cortisol samples, administered psychological examinations, and measured insulin, sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, adrenalin, and inflammatory and other markers. With that data, they calculated the allostatic load on each subject, a measure of general “wear and tear” on the body. “Lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals who were out to family and friends had lower levels of psychiatric symptoms and lower morning cortisol levels than those who were still in the closet,” said lead author Robert-Paul Juster, M.S.C., writing online today in Psychosomatic Medicine.

The research suggests that self-acceptance and disclosure can have positive effects on the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals and is thus a serious public-health matter, concluded Juster.

For more in Psychiatric News about gay and lesbian mental health issues, click here and here. See also The LGBT Casebook, new from American Psychiatric Publishing.

(Image: Kamira/Shutterstock.com)


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