Being Homophobic Sheds Years Off Your Life

homophobes die earlier

Heads up, homophobes: You might want to re-think your anti-gay ways, or you might be getting a visit from this guy (look up) a little sooner than you expected. Check out this article from Pacific Standard, which tells of a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health:

“We found evidence that anti-gay prejudice is associated with elevated mortality risk among heterosexuals, over and above multiple established risk factors,” writes a research team led by Mark Hatzenbuehler of Columbia University. “In particular, there was a 2.5-year life expectancy difference between individuals with high vs. low levels of anti-gay prejudice.”

The cause, the researchers write in the American Journal of Public Health, may be homophobes’ higher stress levels. It appears all that intense discomfort takes a physical toll.

The results were compiled after a study of the General Social Survey, which keeps a running tab on Americans’ attitudes and behaviors, and the death records in the National Death Index. Scientists concentrated specifically on answers regarding opinions on homosexuality from 1988 to 2002. The final sample comprised 20,226 American homophobes, 19 percent of which had died by the year 2008.

After adjusting for a variety of factors known to influence health and mortality, including age, race, marital status, income, and education, the researchers found anti-gay prejudice was “significantly associated with elevated mortality,” resulting in “a-life expectancy difference of approximately 2.5 years.”

While they found no link between homophobia and cancer deaths, anti-gay bias “was specifically associated with cardiovascular-related causes of death among heterosexuals,” they write.

Are you paying attention, Pat Robertson? Duck Dynasty dude?

Read the rest of Pacific Standard‘s article here, and if you want to delve in to the whole study, you’ll find that here.