Original Paper

Journal of Community Health

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 588-596

First online:

Differences in Hypertension by Sexual Orientation Among U.S. Young Adults

  • Bethany EverettAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois at Chicago Email author 
  • , Stefanie MollbornAffiliated withUniversity of Colorado at Boulder

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Using a nationally representative data set, this study provides the first estimates of differences in hypertension by sexual orientation using objective measures of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Logistic regressions showed that there were no differences in hypertensive risk between mostly heterosexual/bisexual identified-respondents and heterosexual-identified respondents among both men and women. Gay men, however, are almost twice as likely (odds ratio = 1.92, p < .01) to be hypertensive compared to heterosexual men. The elevated risk is not explained by measures of minority stress, nor by cardiovascular disease risk factors such as smoking, alcohol use, drug use, BMI, or physical activity. No differences in hypertension risk by sexual orientation were detected among female respondents. The results suggest that gay men face an excess risk for hypertension compared to heterosexual men that is not explained by differences in measured health behaviors.


Hypertension Sexual orientation Lesbians Gays Health behavior