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Physical Health Disparities Across Dimensions of Sexual Orientation, Race/Ethnicity, and Sex: Evidence for Increased Risk Among Bisexual Adults

  • Christina Dyar
  • Tenille C. Taggart
  • Craig Rodriguez-Seijas
  • Ronald G. ThompsonJr.
  • Jennifer C. Elliott
  • Deborah S. Hasin
  • Nicholas R. Eaton
Special Section: Bisexual Health

Abstract

Accumulating evidence suggests that sexual minority individuals are at increased risk for physical health conditions compared to heterosexual individuals. However, we know little about physical health disparities affecting bisexual individuals, a population at increased risk for psychiatric and substance use conditions compared to both heterosexual and lesbian/gay populations. Using a large, nationally representative sample, we examined physical health disparities for bisexual individuals. To advance research on sexual minority health disparities, we further: (1) compared prevalence rates of physical health conditions across three dimensions of sexual orientation (i.e., identity, attractions, behavior) and (2) examined whether disparities differed by sex and race/ethnicity. Results indicated that sexual minority individuals were at increased risk for many physical health conditions. Notably, individuals with bisexual identity, attractions, and/or behavior were at increased risk for more physical health conditions than other sexual minority groups. The number and types of physical health disparities affecting bisexually identified individuals and individuals with same- and opposite-sex attractions and/or sexual partners varied across sex and race/ethnicity, with the most consistent disparities emerging for individuals who reported same- and opposite-sex sexual partners. Our findings highlight the substantial physical health disparities affecting sexual minorities and the heightened risk conferred by all facets of bisexuality.

Keywords

Physical health Health disparities Sexual orientation Bisexual 

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.New York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and SurgeonsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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