Community and Social Support Impact LGB Health Outcomes

Poor levels of social support are a mediator between community-level support of same-sex marriage and health of LGB populations, a recent study found.

The study investigated the impact of community support for LGB populations on health and wellbeing by using data from the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, which gathered public opinion on same-sex marriage between September and November 2017. The survey asked a single question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” The researchers compared the life satisfaction, mental health, and overall health of LGB people in areas of Australia with high proportions of people who voted ‘no’ to the same measures in areas with low proportions of ‘no’ voters.

While LGB people generally reported lower levels of life satisfaction, mental health, and overall health, individuals living in areas with high percentages of ‘no’ voters scored lower in all three outcomes than those in other areas. Additionally, the researchers performed analyses that demonstrated that poor levels of social support were an important mechanism linking community support of same-sex marriage to the health and wellbeing of LGB people in Australia.

The study concludes that, as has been demonstrated in other studies, structural stigma acts as a social determinant of health for LGB populations. The authors stress the need for interventions that aim to “reduce the levels of stigmatization experienced by LGB populations” and increase available social support. This study makes it clear that such interventions are important not only for the social lives of LGB individuals but also for overall health and wellbeing.

You can access the full text in Social Science & Medicine here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953618302508