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Bisexual women more at risk then male bisexuals

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Bisexual women are more likely to suffer depression than their male counterparts. They also suffer from stress more than male bisexuals.

A new survey from George Mason University researcher Lisa Lindley, associate professor in the Department of Global and Community Health with the College of Health and Human Services, found that bisexual women are at a higher risk for all kinds of things including smoking and binge drinking, but it’s a mystery as to why.

“Why? That’s what we keep asking,” said Lindley.

It could be that bisexual women try to blend in. “There’s a lot of prejudice against them. They’re told ‘You’re confused – pick one.’ There tends to be this expectation or standard that a person picks one sexual identity and sticks with it. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about bisexuals. I think their risk has a lot more to do with stigma,” explained Lindley.

Her study links three different aspects of sexuality (identity, behavior and attraction) and links them to a variety of health-related behaviors. After reviewing the data, she came to the conclusion that both boy and girl bisexuals were at high-risk for depression, stress and alcohol abuse as teenagers. As men get older, their risk decreases.

Few studies look at sexual attraction, behavior and identity. Researchers need to learn more about the different gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities to find the unique sources of their mental health issues. “They’re not all troubled,” said Lindley, “They’re not all high risk.” It could be that discordance is at the center of the women’s stress. “They’re saying, ‘I identify one way, but I behave in a different way and am attracted in another way’,” she said.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, American Journal of Public Health

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