Recent versus lifetime experiences of discrimination and the mental and physical health of older lesbian women and gay men
journal contributionposted on 25.03.2021, 23:51 by Anthony Lyons, Beatrice Alba, Andrea Waling, Victor Minichiello, Mark Hughes, Catherine Barrett, Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, Samantha Edmonds, Michelle Blanchard
Abstract This study examines the potential health-related impact of recent versus lifetime experiences of sexual orientation discrimination among older Australian lesbian women and gay men. In a nationwide survey, a sample of 243 lesbian women and 513 gay men aged 60 years and over reported on their experiences of sexual orientation discrimination and their mental and physical health, including psychological distress, positive mental health and self-rated health. Among both lesbian women and gay men, recent discrimination uniquely predicted lower positive mental health after adjusting for experiences of discrimination across the lifetime and socio-demographic variables. In addition, recent discrimination uniquely predicted higher psychological distress among gay men. Experiences of discrimination over the lifetime further predicted higher psychological distress and poorer self-rated health among gay men after adjusting for recent experiences of discrimination and socio-demographic variables. However, there were no associations between lifetime discrimination and any of the outcome variables among lesbian women. Overall, recent and lifetime experiences of sexual orientation discrimination were related to mental and physical health in different ways, especially among the men. These findings have potential implications for policy/practice, and suggest that distinguishing between recent and lifetime experiences of discrimination may be useful when assessing potential health-related impacts of sexual orientation discrimination among older lesbian women and gay men, while also taking account of differences between these two groups.