WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Straight people who hold anti-gay views are more likely to die younger than those who don’t.
That’s the finding of a soon to be published study that surveyed over 20,000 Americans about their views on homosexuality from 1988 to 2008.
During those 20 years participants were asked things like whether gays should be allowed to teach in public schools, did they think same-sex relationships were morally wrong and whether books with gay themes should be allowed in public libraries.
4,216 of those surveyed died by the end of the period.
Those who were not prejudiced against gay people lived on average 2.5 years more than those who were, say the researchers.
In order to ensure that other factors were not affecting the results, researchers controlled for variables like age, income, education, marital status, gender, racial prejudice and religion.
“Anti-gay prejudice is associated with elevated mortality risk among heterosexuals, over and above multiple established risk factors for mortality,” said lead researcher Mark L Hatzenbuehler, with Columbia University
He added that anti-gay prejudice was “associated with increased risk of cardiovascular-related causes of death.”
This study did not determine why there may be a link between anti-gay prejudice and a shorter life expectancy. The scientists speculated that anger, stress, high blood pressure or heart disease could be to blame.
The study will appear in the American Journal of Public Health.
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