The costs of being “Different”: sexual identity and subjective wellbeing over the life course

Perales, Francisco (2015) The costs of being “Different”: sexual identity and subjective wellbeing over the life course. Social Indicators Research, 127 2: 827-849. doi:10.1007/s11205-015-0974-x

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Author Perales, Francisco
Title The costs of being “Different”: sexual identity and subjective wellbeing over the life course
Journal name Social Indicators Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0303-8300
Publication date 2015-05-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s11205-015-0974-x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 127
Issue 2
Start page 827
End page 849
Total pages 23
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Language eng
Subject 3204 Developmental and Educational Psychology
1201 Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
3312 Sociology and Political Science
3300 Social Sciences
Abstract Vast social transformations in recent decades have resulted in the emergence of a socio-political climate that is progressively more accepting of sexual minorities. However, sexual identity remains an important aspect influencing people’s lives, and is believed to have independent effects on subjective wellbeing via stigmatization and discrimination of sexual minorities. We use recently available, nationally representative, Australian panel data (n ≈ 15,000 individuals and 111,000 person-year observations) and panel regression models to provide an encompassing and generalizable empirical account of how sexual identity influences a range of subjective wellbeing outcomes, including mental health, life satisfaction, psychological distress and feelings of safety, and how its effects evolve over individuals’ life courses. We find that the subjective wellbeing of gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals is significantly worse than that of heterosexual individuals. Disparities are most apparent during adolescence and early adulthood and tend to close as people age, especially for bisexual individuals. Existing policies outlawing direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual identity in Australia are insufficient and a more global approach to prevent systematic, structural pressures on sexual minorities needed to close sexual identity disparities in subjective wellbeing. Interventions should particularly address the needs of teenagers and young adults.
Keyword Sexual identitiy
Subjective wellbeing
Mental health
Life course
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 11 May 2015, 20:20:00 EST by Francisco Paco Perales on behalf of Institute for Social Science Research