Document Type

Article

Language

eng

Publication Date

1-2020

Publisher

Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

Source Publication

Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health

Source ISSN

1935-9705

Abstract

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults comprise a unique and growing subset of the aging population. The historical context in which they came of age was imbued with victimization and discrimination. These experiences are subjectively stressful and collectively known as minority stress. Older LGBT adults continue to face stressors related to their gender and sexual identities in their daily lives. Importantly, chronic minority stress (CMS), like other forms of chronic stress, is harmful to health and well-being. CMS contributes to LGBT health disparities, including cardiovascular disease and depression, conditions that in turn increase risk for premature cognitive decline. Furthermore, long-term exposure to stress hormones is associated with accelerated brain aging. Yet, the cognitive functioning of LGBT elders and the influence of CMS on their cognition is all but unexplored. In this review, we examine the influences of CMS in LGBT elders and connect those influences to existing research on stress and cognitive aging. We propose a testable model describing how CMS in LGBT elders heightens risk for premature cognitive aging and how ameliorating factors may help protect from CMS risk. Research is desperately needed to calibrate this model toward improving LGBT quality of life and mental health practices.

Comments

Accepted version. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, Vol. 24, No. 1 (January/March 2020): 2-19. DOI. © 2020 Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. Used with permission.

Available for download on Monday, January 04, 2021

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