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Social Change and the Health of Sexual Minority Individuals: Do the Effects of Minority Stress and Community Connectedness Vary by Age Cohort?


This study examined the extent to which social stress stemming from a stigmatized social status (i.e., minority stress) was associated with three domains of health in younger as compared with older age cohorts of sexual minority individuals. Data were analyzed from the Generations Study, a longitudinal study using a probability sample (N = 1518) of age cohorts of sexual minority individuals in the USA. Exposure to a variety of minority stressors was associated with poorer health for all age cohorts. We hypothesized that because of improved social and legal environments in recent years, the associations between minority stress and health would be diminished in the younger cohort. As expected, we found that the associations between some minority stressors and health outcomes were diminished in the younger cohort compared to older cohorts. Positive associations between community connectedness and mental health and social well-being were observed for all participants but were attenuated in the younger cohort. Findings demonstrate the continuing negative association between minority stress and health among sexual minorities, which, despite some attenuation, persists even for young cohorts of sexual minority individuals in a more equal and accepting social climate.

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