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A newly released study shows that antigay bullying can cause hormonal disruptions that may lead to increased suicide attempts, memory loss, cardiovascular problems, and bone density depletion.
The Gazette of Montreal reports on the study authored by Michael Benibgui, who claims it is the first to prove a biological link between homophobia and health damage.
"The results showed that victims of homophobia had disruptions in their output of cortisol, a hormone released in the brain as a response to stress," reports The Gazette. "Normally, cortisol levels are highest in the morning and lowest in the evening, but those facing homophobic bullying consistently produced higher levels throughout the day, Benibgui said."
In addition to measuring cortisol, which can cause ailments when disrupted, the study looked at whether participants were more depressed or had increased thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts, The Gazette reports.
The study found that support from family and friends can counteract the cortisol disruption and improve resiliency.
The study involved 63 Montrealers between the ages of 18 and 25 who answered questionnaires and gave saliva samples in 2003 and 2004.