Metro Weekly

New study: homophobic people die earlier

Anti-gay prejudice is associated with elevated mortality risk among heterosexuals, over and above multiple established risk factors for mortality.”

The findings of a study called “Anti-Gay Prejudice and All-Cause Mortality Among Heterosexuals in the United States”, led by Mark L. Hatzenbuehler of Columbia University, in the February issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The study included 20,226 respondents between 1988 and 2008 — 4,216 of those involved had passed away by the end of the study. The study found that there existed a “2.5-year life expectancy difference between individuals with high versus low levels of anti-gay prejudice.” Homophobia specifically was “associated with increased risk of cardiovascular-related causes of death.”

The study used four questions to establish the personal biases of participants:

  • 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?
  • Should a man who admits that he is a homosexual be allowed to teach in a college or university, or not?
  • 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?
  • 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?

Image Credit: Paul M. Walsh

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at

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