Monday, October 30, 2006

Homosexual life expectancy

Andy cites this article and writes:
Life expectancy for a 20 year old gay or bisexual man is 8 to 20 years less than all men. The authors estimate that "nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently age 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday." Source: Hogg. RS., Strathdee, SA., Craib, KJP., O'Shaughnessy, MV., Montainer, JSG., Schechter, MT., " Modeling the impact of HIV Disease on Mortality in Gay and Bisexual Men," International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 26, No. 3, 1997, pp. 657-61.

In 1998, another study using four contemporary databases suggested that homosexual activity may be associated with a lifespan shortened by 20 to 30 years. Source: Cameron, P., Cameron, K., Playfair, WL., " Does Homosexual Activity Shorten Life? ", Psychological Reports, 1998, 83, pp. 847-66.

From 1969 through 1970, the Kinsey Institute surveyed homosexuals in San Francisco. Although they recruited respondents in eight different ways, only 23% of male homosexuals and only 18% of lesbians were over the age of 45, despite the fact that the investigators tried for 25% from this age group.

In 1977, the largest survey of homosexuals reported 0.2% of its lesbians and 0.8% of its homosexual males were age 65 or older.

An openly lesbian M. Mendola, in 1979, polled 405 homosexuals by mail. The median age of those polled was 34, and only 10% were 50 or over. Source: The Mendola Report: A New Look at Gay Couples.

From 1977 through 1979, 102 homosexuals case histories were collected in Seattle and the oldest was 58.

In 1994, an obituary study revealed that the median age of death for homosexual males was 42 and for lesbians was 49. Source: Cameron, Playfair, Wellum, "The Longevity of Homosexuals: Before and After the AIDS Epidemic, " Omega Journal of Death and Dying," 1994.

Though this final fact is anecdotal, note that the age of the recent death of former Congressman Gerry Studds, a well-to-do individual with excellent health care available, was less than 70.
I think that it is plausible that there is a correlation
between homosexuality and lower life expectancy, just as married folks tend to live longer. AIDS and other diseases might be a partial explanation. But there could be a lot of others as well. Maybe gays smoke more, get less health care, or adopt riskier lifestyles. It is hard to say what causes what. For those who distinguish between homosexual orientiation and behavior, which correlates better with shorter lives? I doubt that these studies provide any good answers.

John sends this new study:
During the years immediately after divorce -- from 1991 to 1994 -- the divorced women reported 7 percent higher levels of psychological distress than married women. They did not report any differences in physical illness at that time.

A decade later, however, the divorced women reported 37 percent more physical illness, but no difference in psychological stress that could be directly linked to the divorce, said Lorenz, who co-authored the study with K.A.S. Wickrama, Rand Conger and Glen Elder. The research was conducted out of the Institute for Social and Behavioral Research based at Iowa State.

The women in the study marked off illnesses from a list of 46 choices -- ranging from the common cold and sore throat to heart conditions and cancer.
The authors offer their own untested explanations, but there are many others as well. Tests indicate that married folks are happier and healthier on average.

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