New study gives clues to aging in LGBT Americans

Researchers studied the health and well-being of aging LGBT adults in a first-of-its-kind study.
By Amy Wallace  |  Feb. 9, 2017 at 12:34 PM
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Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Researchers from the University of Washington used data from the first national survey on aging and health in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, adults.

The study examined data from the first national study of more than 2,400 LGBT adults ages 50 to 100 in 2014.

"These articles provide the opportunity to consider how social, historical, and environmental contexts influence the health and well-being of LGBT older adults as we more forward in age-related research, services, and policies -- especially if we are to understand the realities of older adulthood across diverse and vulnerable communities," Karen I. Fredriksen-Goldsen, Ph.D., a professor in the University of Washington School of Social Work and author of the study, said in a press release.

"The insights gleaned from this study of aging among LGBT older adults can deepen our understanding of the richness, diversity, and resilience of lives across the life course."

The study showed that 2.4 percent of older adults in the United States identify as LGBT, which makes up 2.7 million adults age 50 and older and 1.1 million age 65 and older.

"LGBT older adults face disparities in health and well-being compared to heterosexual peers, including higher rates of disability, cardiovascular disease, depression and social isolation," Fredriksen-Golden said. "Discrimination, stigma, and lack of healthcare access is associated with these elevated disparities. It is important to understand that these communities are diverse, and unique groups face distinct challenges to their health."

The study was published in The Gerontologist.

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