Healthcare stereotype threat and health outcomes among LGB individuals

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Background/Purpose: Health disparities between sexual minorities and heterosexuals are well documented and have been explained by differential access to healthcare as well as exposure to discrimination. The current research examines the role that healthcare stereotype threat, or the fear of being judged by healthcare providers based on negative group stereotypes, plays in the health of LGB individuals. Methods: LGB individuals (N = 1507) in three age cohorts were recruited via random digit dialing to participate in a larger study on sexual minority health. Participants completed measures assessing healthcare stereotype threat, lifetime health diagnoses, life satisfaction, and number of bad physical health days and personal distress in the past 30 days. Results: Healthcare stereotype threat was associated with higher psychological distress and number of reported bad physical health days. Additionally, the Younger and Middle cohorts reported more stereotype threat than the Older cohort, but reported significantly higher levels of life satisfaction in the face of this threat than those in the Older cohort. Conclusions: Healthcare stereotype threat was related to poorer mental and physical health among LGB individuals; this was true when these outcomes were assessed over the past 30 days but not when they were assessed in general. Cohort differences in healthcare stereotype threat suggest potential important within group variation that needs further investigating. The research broadens the contexts to which stereotype threat is relevant and establishes a stressor related to LGB health.


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Recommended Citation

Fingerhut, A.W., Martos, A. J., Choi, S. K., & Abdou, C. M. (2021). Healthcare stereotype threat and health outcomes among LGB individuals. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kaab060