Gay youngsters suffer poorer health: study

Gay and bisexual youths in Sweden suffer from poorer health than the general population. Psychological problems and an increased incidence of attempted suicide are among the issues highlighted, a new study presented on Monday shows.

Every fourth gay or bisexual woman and every tenth man has attempted suicide, according to the report by the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (Statens folkhälsoinstitutet) to be present in conjunction with the opening of Stockholm Pride on Monday afternoon.

The institute’s report is based on a review of the health status of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people aged 16-29 included in a national public health survey between 2005 and 2008.

The incidence of reports of poorer health among young homo and bisexual women is three times that experienced by heterosexuals, the findings show.

“Our survey shows a doubled and in some cases a trebled risk for impaired psychological well-being, stress, severe anxiety and suicidal thoughts among young sexual minorities,” Regina Winzer confirmed in an institute press release on Monday.

The findings are in line with similar international studies, the institute states.

Winzer explains that the pressure for young people to conform to group norms can be higher for young homo- and bisexuals, with negative effects on their physical and psychological well-being as a result.

Young gay and bisexual people of both sexes are also more often subjected to physical violence and threats of violence than heterosexuals in the same age, the report shows.

Gay and bisexual men are 2.5 times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to be subjected to threats of violence, while young gay and bisexual women run twice the risk.

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