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Education has long been linked to health – the more school children there are, the healthier they are likely to be. However, a new study by sociologists at Rice University found that the health benefits of a good education are less obvious in well-educated bisexual adults.

Education and Health: The Common Role of Gender and Sexual Identity examines the health of heterosexual, bisexual, gay and lesbian adults with different educational backgrounds. The authors Zhe Zhang, postdoc with Rice, Bridget Gorman, professor of sociology with Rice, and Alexa Solazzo, postdoc at the TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University, have always been particularly interested in bisexual adults experiencing particular health vulnerabilities.

The researchers found that at least one bachelor’s degree was associated with better health in bisexual adults, but received fewer benefits than heterosexual and gay or lesbian adults with similar education. This effect was particularly true of bisexual women.

“The health benefits of education are well known – so much so that anything we do to promote and improve public education should really be viewed as health policy,” Gorman said. “It has such a strong impact on health and well-being. Our analysis found that bisexual adults have fewer educational-related health benefits compared to heterosexual, gay, and lesbian adults.”

While the researchers couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause, they suspected the problem could be social stigma and added anxiety among women due to gender discrimination, Zhang said.

“Discrimination of any kind can seriously affect health,” said Zhang. “While we cannot say for sure that this will happen in this study, it is a very real possibility.”

The authors based their study on data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which included a sample of more than 1.2 million adults who lived in 44 US states and territories from 2011 to 2017. They hope the study will raise awareness of the problem and help health professionals ensure better care.

Bisexual men and women report poorer health than gays, lesbians and heterosexuals

Quote: Bisexual adults less likely to enjoy the health benefits of education (2020, October 15) were found on October 15, 2020 from retrieved

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