Bisexual women most vulnerable to poor health and wellbeing

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) Australians continue to experience significant disadvantage when it comes to health and wellbeing compared to their heterosexual peers, a University of Queensland study has found.

Dr. Francisco Perales, of UQ's Institute for Social Science Research, identified bisexual people as being at higher risk of poor outcomes compared to both heterosexual and gay/lesbian people.

"Disparities in health and wellbeing between gay/lesbian and heterosexual individuals were stable from 2012 to 2016," Dr. Perales said.

"In the same period, disparities between bisexual and heterosexual individuals widened for more than half of the indicators."

The study also found that non-heterosexual women – particularly – fared worse than non-heterosexual men.

"The combination of disadvantaged statuses could have a compounding effect on the health and wellbeing of this group," Dr. Perales said.

LGB disadvantage was more pronounced in domains such as , and social functioning, and less pronounced for physical functioning and substance abuse.

Dr. Perales said the findings highlighted the importance of fully integrating sexual orientation in health policy and practice.

"They also underscore the need for further research that identifies the factors contributing to LGB disadvantage, including stigma and discrimination."

The research was based on HILDA Survey data from 16,000 Australians.

It considered 20 different indicators of health and wellbeing, including physical and mental health, self-reported wellbeing and health behaviours.

Dr. Perales is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award fellow, and a Senior Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course.

The study is published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Explore further

Study explores sexuality and gender gaps in political perspectives among college students

More information: Francisco Perales. The health and wellbeing of Australian lesbian, gay and bisexual people: a systematic assessment using a longitudinal national sample, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health (2018). DOI: 10.1111/1753-6405.12855
Citation: Bisexual women most vulnerable to poor health and wellbeing (2018, December 14) retrieved 17 October 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Dec 15, 2018
Wonder if it has something to do with this?

"Bisexual women are up to 3.5 times more likely to smoke, try their first cigarette at a younger age and have a higher nicotine dependence than heterosexual women."

"Smokers also experience a dulling of their senses; smell and taste in particular take a hit when you smoke."

-Sexual cues often involve sense of smell. If a woman is smoking from an early age, perhaps she misses the cues she would normally get from the men around her... or perhaps she smokes because she finds the smell of men offensive.

Dec 15, 2018
"...your smell is determined by the same set of genes, the major histocompatibility complex genes (MHC), as your immune system. It is part of who you are, your personal chemical signature," writes Dunbar.

"Women seem particularly attuned to "reading" that personal signature it seems. For example, Dunbar says there's evidence to suggest that women possess the ability to recognize not only their children, but also their lovers by scent (she never says it's a good scent, only that the ladies can tell the difference).

"Scent also plays a stronger role in sexual arousal for women that men."

Dec 15, 2018
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more