Physical and mental health inequalities among aging lesbian, gay, and bisexual Canadians: cross-sectional results from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA).

Research paper by Arne A Stinchcombe, Kimberley K Wilson, Katherine K Kortes-Miller, Lori L Chambers, Bruce B Weaver

Indexed on: 14 Jul '18Published on: 14 Jul '18Published in: Canadian journal of public health = Revue canadienne de sante publique


International estimates suggest the presence of health inequalities among older sexual minorities (i.e., individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual and are 65 years old or above). In this study, we investigated the presence of health inequalities among aging lesbian and bisexual females, as well as aging gay and bisexual males in Canada. We used baseline data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) Tracking and Comprehensive cohorts to cross-sectionally compare self-reported physical and mental health indicators by sex and sexual orientation. Within our analysis sample of 51,208 Canadians 45 years old and over, 2% (n = 1057) of respondents identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Compared to heterosexual female peers, lesbian and bisexual females had greater odds of heavy drinking (AOR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.3-2.4) and being a former smoker (AOR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.2-1.9). Gay and bisexual males had greater odds of reporting a diagnosis of cancer (AOR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.0-1.9) and currently smoking (AOR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.1-2.0), compared to heterosexual males. Female and male sexual minorities had greater odds of reporting mood disorders (including depression) and anxiety disorders relative to heterosexual peers of the same sex. These findings highlight the importance of considering both sex and sexual orientation when developing approaches to support the physical and mental health of a diverse aging population in Canada.