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The effects of coming out on relationships and health

, : The effects of coming out on relationships and health. Journal of Lesbian Studies 5(1-2): 183-194

SUMMARY This study set out to ascertain how open lesbians were about their sexual orientation, using a snowball sample of lesbians in New Zealand. The research looked at how disclosure impacted on lesbian sexual behaviour, self assessed health status, relationships and use of health services. The questions were part of a large survey modelled on a North Health Study (Parr, Whittaker, and Jackson, 1998) which included the SF-36 survey instrument. A standardized set of questions and calculated scoring were used to measure the self-assessed health of respondents (Ware et al., 1993). The 795 return results were compared with a sample of women from Northern New Zealand and a sample of lesbians from the New Zealand Census. The respondents were coded into three groups according to their degree of openness: those who were out to everybody, those who were out to all but one person of significance, and those who were out to a few. Lesbians who were not open to their doctors were more likely to have reported being closeted to employers and parents, to smoke more, to drink more alcohol, to have less sex, and to earn less money. Respondents who labeled themselves gay reported that they were not so open. of the 77% that were out to their health professional, 5% had received a negative response.


PMID: 24807574

DOI: 10.1300/J155v05n01_12

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