Study: Parental Support Greatly Improves Long-Term Health For LGBTs

Coming out may prove a boon to long-term health, especially when your parents support the decision, new research from Boston University School of Public Health suggests. The study, published in the Journal of Homosexuality, surveyed 5,658 adults ages 18-64 years old in Massachusetts and found that 75 percent of gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults had “come out” to their parents. In incidences where parents expressed open support of the decision, reports of mental health and substance abuse were considerably lower than in cases where parents were unsupportive. In fact, bisexual and lesbian females whose parents did not support them were five times more likely to develop serious depression and 11 times more likely to indulge in illicit drug use, while bisexual and gay males had six to seven times the odds of serious depression and binge drinking. Although the report discovered that the act of coming out most often resulted in better health for lesbian and bisexual women, the same was not true for gay and bisexual men, who “may be able to conduct their sexual lives apart from their parents with less stress.” — Fatima Najiy