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Discriminatory Policies Affect Mental Health

Discriminatory Policies Affect Mental Health A new study discovers institutional discrimination can influence the psychiatric health of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals.

Researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found an increase in psychiatric disorders among the LGB population living in states that instituted bans on same-sex marriage.

The study, published in the March issue of the American Journal of Public Health, is available online.

Deborah Hasin, PhD, professor of clinical Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and senior author, and colleagues at the NYS Psychiatric Institute and Harvard University analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).

Participants were initially interviewed during 2001 – 2002 (Wave 1) and again during the period 2004-2005 (Wave 2), at which time participants’ sexual orientation was assessed.

“To address the impact of institutional discrimination on mental health, we examined whether LGB individuals living in states that instituted constitutional amendments banning gay marriage via the 2004-2005 elections evidenced increased rates of psychiatric disorders between Wave 1 and Wave 2 of the survey,” according to the authors.

Among lesbian, gay and bisexual study participants living in these states, the prevalence of mood disorders, generalized anxiety disorder and alcohol use disorders increased significantly between Wave 1 to Wave 2, with the greatest increase, more than 200 percent, in generalized anxiety disorder.

The prevalence of any psychiatric disorder also increased slightly among heterosexual respondents, but to a much lesser extent than their LGB counterparts.

“Before this study, little was known about the impact of institutional discrimination toward lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals in our society,” said Dr. Hasin.

“The study highlights the importance of abolishing institutional forms of discrimination, including those leading to disparities in the mental health and well-being of LGB individuals.”

Institutional discrimination is characterized by societal-level conditions that limit the opportunities and access to resources by socially-disadvantaged groups.

During the 2004 election and soon after, the authors note, 14 states approved constitutional amendments restricting marriage to unions between heterosexual couples.

Source: Columbia University

Discriminatory Policies Affect Mental Health

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Discriminatory Policies Affect Mental Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 12, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/03/03/discriminatory-policies-affect-mental-health/11833.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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