Study: Women More Affected By the Closet Than Men

Researchers at Boston University interviewed gay, lesbian and bisexual people about their lives and compared those who had come out to those who remained in the closet.

BY Lucas Grindley

April 14 2012 11:08 AM ET

A study of lesbian, gay and bisexual people up to age 64 found that if parents were supportive of their children when coming out, usually in their twenties, they went on to live healthier lives.

Two-thirds of out participants had supportive parents, found researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health. And they experienced much lower rates of mental health and substance abuse problems compared to those whose parents wouldn't accept them.

Gay men without supportive parents went on to face six to seven times the odds of serious depression and binge drinking. Women experienced five times the odds of serious depression, and 11 times the odds of drug use.

The study, published in the Journal of Homosexuality, also found that women are much more affected by living closeted lives than men.

"It's possible that the stress of not disclosing your sexuality to your parents affects men and women differently," said lead researcher Emily Rothman in an announcement of the findings. "In general, gay and bisexual men may be able to conduct their sexual lives apart from their parents with less stress."

Read the full study here.

Tags: Health

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