'Anti-Gay' Heterosexuals Die Earlier, Says Study; and Why Experts Think This Is So Might Surprise You

(Photo: Twitter/@EParkerTimes)This image, shared by Elizabeth Park on Twitter, shows Westboro Baptist Church members and anti-Republican protesters in Tampa on Aug. 28, 2012.

"Anti-gay" heterosexuals are more likely to die earlier than those who aren't, according to results of a recent study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The study, Anti-Gay Prejudice and All-Cause Mortality Among Heterosexuals in the United States, was initiated and led by Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, an assistant professor of sociomedical sciences who focuses on LGBT issues.

"Heterosexuals who reported higher levels of antigay prejudice had higher mortality risk than those who reported lower levels, with control for multiple risk factors for mortality, including demographics, socioeconomic status, and fair or poor self-rated health," noted researchers in the published abstract of the study.

The study did not reveal why such heterosexuals died younger than other heterosexuals, but the researchers involved in the study suggested anger could be the reason behind the earlier deaths.

"Physiological changes associated with anger, such as increased cardiac responses, have been linked to the development of hypertension and to coronary heart disease," wrote the authors.

Researchers, according to a report in SF Gate, linked mortality rates to responses on the General Social Survey, which assessed anti-gay prejudice through the four questions listed below:

  1. If some people in your community suggested that a book in favor of homosexuality should be taken out of your public library, would you favor removing this book, or not?
  2. Should a man who admits that he is a homosexual be allowed to teach in a college or university, or not?
  3. Suppose a man who admits that he is a homosexual wanted to make a speech in your community. Should he be allowed to speak, or not?
  4. Do you think that sexual relations between two adults of the same sex is always wrong, almost always wrong, wrong only sometimes, or not wrong at all?

Some 20,226 heterosexuals participated in GSS interviews between 1988 and 2008, and by the end of the study 4,216 of them had died.

To make sure that they were seeing a link between earlier death and anti-gay prejudice, the researchers applied controls (on such variables as age, income, and education) to the results which indicated that anti-gay heterosexuals died 2.5 years earlier than others with lower levels of prejudice.

"This result translates into a life expectancy difference of approximately 2.5 years between individuals with high versus low levels of anti-gay prejudice. Furthermore, in sensitivity analyses, antigay prejudice was specifically associated with increased risk of cardiovascular-related causes of death in fully adjusted models," said the researchers.

The Christian Post reached out to several conservative scholars for reactions to this study and some declined, stating it would not be prudent to speak on the issue at this time. Others did not respond to requests for comment at the time of the publication of this report.

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