Sticks and stones: "That's so gay" negatively affects gay students
(Medical Xpress)—People may believe words are not harmful, but the phrase "that's so gay" can have negative consequences for gay, lesbian or bisexual students, a new University of Michigan study indicated.
The phrase is often used by young people to describe something as stupid or undesirable. It's part of the vocabulary among students at all types of educational institutions, including colleges.
Although subtle, such language is hostile, and can be harmful to sexual minorities, said Michael Woodford, an assistant professor of social work and the study's lead author.
The findings appear in the current issue of the Journal of American College Health.
Gay, lesbian and bisexual college students who heard "that's so gay" more frequently were more likely to report feeling isolated and to suffer negative health symptoms, such as headaches, poor appetite or eating problems.
Researchers examined the impact of hearing "that's so gay" among 114 gay, lesbian and bisexual students between the ages of 18 to 25 through an online survey.
Students reported how often they heard the phrase on campus in the past 12 months. They also answered questions about their perceived social acceptance on campus, physical well-being, mental health and willingness to disclose their sexual orientation.
Practically every respondent reported hearing "that's so gay" on campus at least once in the past 12 months. Nearly half of the students said they've heard the phrase more than 10 times within the year. Only 14 respondents—or 13 percent—hadn't heard it at all.
Hearing the phrase more often was found to increase students' risk for feeling isolated at the university and for health problems.
"Given the nature of gay-lesbian-bisexual stigma, sexual minority students could already perceive themselves to be excluded on campus and hearing 'that's so gay' may elevate such perceptions," Woodford said.
Increased risk for physical health problems is likely related to a stress reaction that may occur when students hear the phrase, he said.
'That's so gay' conveys that there is something wrong with being gay," Woodford said. "And, hearing such messages about one's self can cause stress, which can manifest in headaches and other health concerns.
"There is a lot of attention being given to addressing LGBT bullying on college campuses. Obviously, that work is important, but our results suggest that we must also address low-level hostility, including 'that's so gay.' Policies and educational programs are needed to help students, staff and faculty to understand that such language can be harmful to gay students. Hopefully, these initiatives will help to eliminate the phrase from campuses."
Journal reference: Journal of American College Health
Provided by University of Michigan
- CDC study: Gay, bisexual teens do riskier things Jun 06, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Gay college students may be at increased risk for drinking problems because of how they, their peers are treated Apr 02, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Sexual orientation affects cancer survivorship May 09, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Victimization for sexual orientation increases suicidal behavior in college students Sep 24, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Youth who self-identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual at higher suicide risk Feb 05, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Patients with treatment-resistant major depression saw dramatic improvement in their illness after treatment with ketamine, an anesthetic, according to the largest ketamine clinical trial to-date led by researchers from the ...
Psychology & Psychiatry May 19, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (5) | 1 |
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 18, 2013 | not rated yet | 1
(HealthDay)—Most Medicare beneficiaries treated in inpatient psychiatric facilities (IPFs) exhibit characteristics associated with hospital readmission, according to a report prepared for the National Association ...
Psychology & Psychiatry May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Skydivers show the same level of physical stress before every jump whether a first-timer or experienced jumper, say Northumbria researchers.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Children of depressed parents pick up on their parents' sadness—whether mom or dad realizes their mood or not.
Psychology & Psychiatry May 17, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 1 |
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have turned their view of osteoarthritis (OA) inside out. Literally. Instead of seeing the painful degenerative disease as a problem primarily of the cartilage that cushions joints, ...
12 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (5) | 0 |
In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual ...
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have identified a potential new risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea: asthma. Using data from the National Institutes of Health (Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)-funded Wisconsin ...
11 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A new study looking at sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and neuroimaging adds to the growing body of research linking the two.
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8 billion in the past decade, and the failure of the most recent efficacy trial has delivered yet another setback to 26 years of efforts.
16 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Gourmands and foodies everywhere have long recognized ginger as a great way to add a little peppery zing to both sweet and savory dishes; now, a study from researchers at Columbia University shows purified components of the ...
11 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0