Minority stress theory is often cited as the explanation behind physical health disparities for sexual minority individuals, but the exact mechanism linking a stigmatizing social environment to outcomes of disease is not well understood. This study sought to bridge minority stress theory with the theory of allostatic load in physiology. A sequential mediation model was hypothesized, in which sexual orientation would predict higher rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and more chronic conditions, mediated via two intervening variables: everyday discrimination and allostatic load. Using data from the MIDUS, N = 495 participants (n = 45 sexual minority) were followed prospectively from 1995 -2015. No differences by sexual orientation were found for cancer or cardiovascular disease. Being a sexual minority, experiencing more everyday discrimination, and having a higher allostatic load score were all significantly associated with having a greater number of chronic conditions. Mediation and the indirect effect were not fully supported. This study was an important first step in beginning to identify the causal pathways that link sexual minority stress to disease. Further research that uses more comprehensive measures of multi-dimensional minority stress, and/ or that consider alternative operationalizations of physiological functioning are needed to better elucidate the exact process.
|Commitee:||Prince, Mark, Myers, Brent, Forssell, Stephen|
|School:||Colorado State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Colorado|
|Source:||DAI-B 81/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Allostatic load, Biomarkers, LGBT, Minority stress|
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