Having a big LGBTQ friends network helps with your health
A study has come out noting that having a big LGBTQ friends network that share the same sexual identity can reduce the harmful effects to health by discrimination.
With 2,560 LGBTQ adults participating, the study measured in the perceived discrimination, stress, and social network size of participants, as well as their physical health, depression, and life satisfaction.
The study, which examines the link between discrimination and health in LGBTQ individuals, looked into health-promoting variables like social networks. It’s scheduled to appear in the Journal of Health and Aging.
The researchers had reviewed past studies and found “a pretty stark bias toward studying what made things worse.”
However, they also pointed out that there are plenty of positive parts of people’s lives that might disrupt some of the more stressful ones.
LGBTQ friends network and emotional support
William Chopik, assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University and lead author of the study, cited the importance of emotional support in these networks.
“Having more family and friends around gives us more people to depend on when we really need it. When it comes to discrimination, people want someone they can rely on who can provide a listening ear,” said Chopik.
“A lot of the time, this means giving emotional support, so having a larger social network makes that possible,” he added.
Moreover, Chopik said that the number of straight individuals in a network didn’t make a difference in health. What’s important was having more LGBTQ friends and family around for those in the LGBTQ community.
What’s more, even the ages of the people in the network didn’t matter as long as they shared the same sexual identity.
Importance of large LGBTQ friends networks
Chopik pointed out that those who face discrimination shut down their relationships or isolate themselves. That’s why it’s important to have a large social circle.
“People experience all sorts of stress every day and the ability to cope with it effectively can prevent a major health crisis,” he said.
“For LGBT people, we found that social networks were a resource they could rely on for support,” he added.
Chopik said that he hopes the findings help medical professionals to understand the importance of considering their patients’ psychological stress.
He pointed out that: “Having a better understanding of the risk and protective factors present in their patients’ environments can lead to a more holistic understanding of their health and well-being.”