A new study finds that bisexuals drink and smoke more than their gay, lesbian and straight counterparts.
The report comes from the University of Vanderbilt, where researchers poured over data collected from the 2013 and 2014 National Health Interview Surveys. What they learned was that members of the LGB community, as a whole, reported higher levels of stress and more severe drinking and smoking habits than heterosexuals.
“Findings from our study indicate that LGB adults experience significant health disparities — particularly in mental health and substance use — likely due to the minority stress that LGB adults experience as a result of their exposure to both interpersonal and structural discrimination,” Gilbert Gonzales, PhD, who led the studies, writes.
Bisexuals reported the highest levels of psychological distress, which researchers believe could be a result of the marginalization they suffer in both mainstream society and the LGBTQ community.
“Combined with the relative scarcity of bisexual communities and organizations, this ostracizing may lead to social isolation, a risk factor for psychological distress,” researchers add.
Now, onto the data…
- Bisexual women were 2 times more likely to report “moderate psychological distress” and nearly 3.5 times more like to report “severe psychological distress” than their heterosexual counterparts.
- Bisexual men were 2.5 times more likely to report “moderate psychological distress” and nearly 5 times more like to report “severe psychological distress” than their heterosexual counterparts.
- Bisexual woman were 2 times more likely to report heavy drinking and 36 percent more likely to report heavy smoking.
- Meanwhile, bisexual men were 3 times more likely to report heavy drinking and 2 times more likely to report heavy smoking.
So what’s the takeaway from all this?
According to Mitchell Katz, MD, deputy editor of JAMA Internal Medicine, where the study was published, bisexuals need better support.
“In caring for people who have experienced bias and discrimination, support is a very potent medicine,” he says.
“However,” he adds, “there is reason to anticipate that with the growing acceptance of sexual minority populations, as evidenced by the rapid increase in the establishment of same-sex marriage in the Unites States and other countries, these disparities will decrease.”