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Racial Disparities in Health Behaviors and Conditions Among Lesbian and Bisexual Women: The Role of Internalized Stigma
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    25364769
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC4212827
  • Description:
    There are documented disparities in physical health behaviors and conditions, such as physical activity and obesity, with regard to both race/ethnicity and sexual orientation. However, physical health disparities for lesbian and bisexual (LB) women who are also racial minorities are relatively unexplored. Minority stressors, such as internalized stigma, may account for disparities in such multiply marginalized populations. We sought to (1) characterize inequalities among non-Hispanic white and African American LB women and (2) examine the roles of internalized sexism and homophobia in disparities. Data on health behaviors (diet, physical activity); physical health (hypertension, diabetes, overweight/obesity); internalized sexism; and internalized homophobia were collected via a web-based survey. Recruitment ads were sent electronically to over 200 listservs, online groups, and organizations serving the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community in all 50 U.S. states. The analytic sample consisted of 954 white and 75 African American LB women. African American participants were more likely than white participants to report low fruit/vegetable intake and physical activity, a higher body mass index, and a history of diabetes and hypertension. There were no racial differences in internalized homophobia, but African American women reported higher levels of internalized sexism. Internalized sexism partially mediated racial disparities in physical activity and diabetes, but not in the other outcomes. Findings suggest that African American LB women may be at greater risk than their white counterparts for poor health and that internalized sexism may be a mediator of racial differences for certain behaviors and conditions.

  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Funding:
    P50 CA148143/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
    R25 CA092408/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
    R36 CD000996/CD/ODCDC CDC HHS/United States
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