Gay and bi men and straight women have lower stress reactivity than straight men a new doctoral study has found according to MedicalXPress.
When exposed to performance-related stressors, gay and bisexual men react in a way comparable to straight women who seem to have lower stress responses than straight men whereas stress hormone levels are higher in lesbians and bi women who have a similar profile to straight men, according to a study from the University of Montreal’s Department of Psychiatry.
The study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, compared stress reactivity levels of LGB individuals with straight individuals.
Cortisol, a hormone secreted under stress, places the organism in a state of alert and harnesses the necessary energy to deal with danger. Over time, however, cortisol-induced reactions can have a significant impact on overall health. “By looking at certain criteria of psychological well-being, and cortisol and blood samples, we were able to determine the biological profiles of the participants and whether mental and physical health differs between LGB and heterosexual individuals,” MedicalXPress quoted the researchers as having said.
LGB and heterosexual participants from the Montreal area visited a laboratory on two occasions. The research team recruited 87 men and women whose average age was 25 years. To measure cortisol levels, saliva samples were collected from the participants following exposure to a stressor. Participants also completed psychological questionnaires and provided blood samples.
The results suggest a link between stress reactivity and sexual orientation, which had never been demonstrated before using cortisol samples.
According to the researcher, gay and bisexual men may show greater resilience, i.e., a better ability to cope with life’s hardships and to bounce back after a difficult event.