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Research Highlights Disparities for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Patients

An article published online in JAMA Internal Medicine highlights important findings for health care and health equity among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults.

Using data from the 2013-2014 National Health Interview Survey, researchers found significant health disparities between gay men, bisexual men, and bisexual women, compared with men and women who identified as heterosexual.

Of particular note, male and female adults who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual were more likely than heterosexual adults to report moderate to severe psychological distress. Researchers said this disparity could be attributable to LGB adults’ exposure to discrimination and similar stressors.

Further, both bisexual men and bisexual women were more likely to report moderate to severe psychological distress, revealing a 23 percent and 24 percent disparity, respectively, compared with other groups. In addition, bisexual men reported heavy smoking and heavy drinking at a much higher frequency compared with both gay and heterosexual men.

The findings could hold important implications for health care providers who care for LGB patients. The findings highlight the importance of factoring these behavioral health considerations into care plans, as well as the need to exemplify safe, non-discriminatory practices when providing care.

In support of essential hospitals’ pursuit of patient-centered and equitable care, America’s Essential Hospitals and the Essential Hospitals Institute offer a number of online resources for health equity, as well as resources specific to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning or queer (LGBTQ) community.

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About the Author

Janelle Schrag is a senior program analyst with America's Essential Hospitals.