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Study: Same-sex cohabitors less healthy than those in heterosexual marriages
Date:2/26/2013

eterosexual marriages and the odds of reporting poor or fair health were about 46 percent higher for same-sex cohabiting women than for women in heterosexual marriages," Liu said.

As for why same-sex cohabitors reported worse health than people of the same socioeconomic status in heterosexual marriages, Liu said there could be several reasons. "Research consistently suggests that 'out' sexual minorities experience heightened levels of stress and higher levels of discrimination, and these experiences may adversely affect the health of this population," Liu said. "It may also be that same-sex cohabitation does not provide the same psychosocial, socioeconomic, and institutional resources that come with legal marriage, factors that are theorized to be responsible for many of the health benefits of marriage."

According to the researchers, it is possible that providing same-sex cohabitors the option to marry would boost their measures of self-rated health because they would experience higher levels of acceptance and lower levels of stigma. "Legalizing same-sex marriage could also provide other advantages often associated with heterosexual marriagesuch as partner health insurance benefits and the ability to file joint tax returnsthat may directly and indirectly influence the health of individuals in same-sex unions," Liu said.

The researchers also found that same-sex cohabitors reported better health than their different-sex cohabiting and single counterparts, but these differences were fully explained by socioeconomic status. "Without their socioeconomic status advantages, same-sex cohabitors would generally report similar levels of health as their divorced, widowed, never-married, and different-sex cohabiting counterparts," Liu said.

Interestingly, the study suggests that the pattern of poorer self-rated health of same-sex cohabitors in comparison with those in heterosexual marriages does not vary by gender and race-ethnicity. In co
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Contact: Daniel Fowler
pubinfo@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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