Lesbian, Bisexual Women Face Premature Death Versus Heterosexual Women

Findings seen in large study of U.S. nurses, with earliest mortality seen among bisexual women
Lesbian, Bisexual Women Face Premature Death Versus Heterosexual Women
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

TUESDAY, May 7, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Female nurses identifying as lesbian or bisexual have markedly earlier mortality than heterosexual nurses, according to a study published online April 25 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Sarah McKetta, M.D., Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute at Harvard University in Boston, and colleagues examined differences in mortality by sexual orientation. The analysis included data for 90,833 female nurses (born between 1945 and 1964) participating in the Nurses’ Health Study II (1989 to 2022). 

The researchers reported that 98.9 percent of participants identified as heterosexual, 0.8 percent as lesbian, and 0.4 percent as bisexual. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual participants had earlier mortality (adjusted acceleration factor, 0.74) compared with heterosexual participants. These differences were amplified among bisexual participants (adjusted acceleration factor, 0.63) versus lesbian participants (adjusted acceleration factor, 0.80).

"In an otherwise largely homogeneous sample of female nurses, participants identifying as lesbian or bisexual had markedly earlier mortality during the study period compared with heterosexual women," the authors write. "These differences in mortality timing highlight the urgency of addressing modifiable risks and upstream social forces that propagate and perpetuate disparities."

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