Harvard Study Reveals Disparities in Women Nurses’ Mortality Based on Sexual Orientation

A new study led by researchers at Harvard University has discovered lesbian and bisexual women nurses have earlier mortality rates than their heterosexual peers.

The study examined data from over 90,000 women participants in the Nurses Health Study II from 1989 to 2022. The results found that lesbian and bisexual women nurses died roughly 20 percent and 37 percent earlier than heterosexual nurses, respectively. As smoking is considered one of the leading causes of premature death, the research team analyzed the rate of smoking among all participants and found that 65.4 percent of heterosexual participants stated they had never smoked, compared to 46.1 percent of lesbian and bisexual participants. Additionally, the authors found greater disparities in mortality in lesbian and bisexual women nurses from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds compared to their White peers.

The authors write that their findings “highlight the urgency of addressing modifiable risks and upstream social forces that propagate and perpetuate disparities.” They suggest future research is needed into the specific causes that lead to the higher rate of mortality among lesbian and bisexual women nurses.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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