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Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 1171–1180 | Cite as

Loneliness Among Older Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults: The Role of Minority Stress

  • Lisette Kuyper
  • Tineke Fokkema
Original Paper

Abstract

Past research has consistently found that aging lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals (LGBs) are more apt to suffer from loneliness than their heterosexual counterparts. Data from the 2002 Gay Autumn survey (N = 122) were used to find out whether minority stress relates to higher levels of loneliness among older LGB adults in the Netherlands. We examined five minority stress factors: external objective stressful events, expectations of those events, internalized homonegativity, hiding and concealment of one’s LGB identity, and ameliorating processes. The results showed that greater insight into loneliness among older LGB adults was obtained when minority stress factors were considered. Older LGB adults who had experienced negative reactions, as well as aging LGBs who expected those reactions, had the highest levels of loneliness. Having an LGB social network buffered against the impact of minority stress. These minority stress processes added to the variance already explained by general factors that influenced levels of loneliness (partner relationships, general social network, physical health, and self-esteem). Interventions aimed at decreasing feelings of loneliness among older LGBs should be focused on decreasing societal homonegativity (to decrease the amount of negative and prejudiced reactions) and on the enhancement of social activities for LGB elderly.

Keywords

Elderly Loneliness Homosexual Minority stress 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The “Gay Autumn” project was initiated by the Schorerstichting (main applicant), COC Netherlands, ANBO, and IMCO (after it had joined forces with NPI: PRIMO nh).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rutgers Nisso GroepUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic InstituteThe HagueThe Netherlands

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