Does structural stigma affect the mortality of sexual minorities?

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In recent years, there has been a lot of interest in studying how stigma affects health. A study by Hatzenbuehler and colleagues in 2014 found that sexual minorities living in communities with high anti-gay prejudice had an average of 12 years shorter life expectancy, based on data from surveys and mortality records.

However, when researchers tried to replicate this finding using a more refined method of data imputation, they couldn’t get the same results. In other words, the evidence supporting the impact of structural stigma on the premature mortality of sexual minorities was not as strong as previously thought. Alternative explanations for the study’s results also did not provide much new insight.

In simple terms, the study’s initial findings on stigma’s effect on mortality in sexual minorities could not be replicated using a more detailed approach, raising questions about the robustness of the original conclusion.

Conclusion of the study:

Ten different methods were used to fill in missing data, but none showed a statistically significant effect of structural stigma on the mortality of sexual minorities. This suggests that the original study’s measure of structural stigma is too subjective and unreliable to draw firm conclusions.

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