Sexual Minority Health

Authored by: David M. Frost , Marc E. D. Svensson

Handbook of Health Psychology

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138052819
eBook ISBN: 9781315167534
Adobe ISBN:


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Research demonstrates that sexual minority individuals (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and other individuals who do not identify as heterosexual) continue to experience higher rates of mental and physical health problems compared to heterosexual individuals. These health inequalities experienced by sexual minority populations are potentially caused by the disadvantaged social status that many societies throughout the world have traditionally afforded to sexual minority populations. In this chapter, we discuss research findings that support the claims made by predominant theories in the field that excess exposure to social stress related to stigma, prejudice, and discrimination offers an explanation for the continued finding of poorer health in sexual minority populations relative to heterosexual. We then discuss the potential factors that have been theorized to interrupt the pathways between social stress and health, including a focus on identity-related factors and resilience resources that exist on individual and community levels. Finally, given the constantly shifting social and policy climate faced by sexual minority populations, we raise critical questions for the field that need to be addressed in future research on the relationship between sexual orientation and health.

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