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Epidemiology and Health 2017;e2017046.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2017046    [Accepted] Published online October 19, 2017.
Health Disparities Between Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults and the General Population in South Korea: Rainbow Connection Project I
Horim Yi1  , Hyemin Lee1  , Jooyoung Park1  , Bokyoung Choi1  , Seung-Sup Kim1,2 
1Department of Public Health Sciences, Graduate School of Korea University, Seoul, Korea
2Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Havard School of Public Health, Boston, United States
Correspondence  Seung-Sup Kim ,Tel: +82-10-3152-8334, Fax: +82-2-916-5943, Email: ssk3@korea.ac.kr
Submitted: July 5, 2017  Accepted after revision: October 19, 2017
This study aims to investigate health disparities between lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults and the general population in South Korea, where there is low public acceptance of sexual minorities and a dearth of research on the health of sexual minorities.
The research team conducted a nationwide survey of 2,335 Korean LGB adults in 2016. Using the dataset, we estimated the age-standardized prevalence ratios (SPR) for poor self-rated health, musculoskeletal pain, depressive symptoms, suicidal behaviors, smoking, and hazardous drinking. We then compared the SPR of the LGB adults and the general population, which participated in three different nationally representative surveys in Korea. SPR were estimated for each of the four groups (i.e., gay men, bisexual men, lesbians, and bisexual women).
Korean LGB adults had a statistically significantly higher prevalence of depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation and attempt, and musculoskeletal pain compared to the general population. Lesbian and bisexual women had a higher risk of poor self-rated health and smoking than the general female population, whereas gay and bisexual men showed no difference with the general male population. Higher prevalence of hazardous drinking was observed among lesbians, gay men, and bisexual women compared to the general population, but was not observed for bisexual men.
The findings suggest that LGB adults have a poorer health status compared to the general population in South Korea. These results suggest that interventions are needed to address the health disparities of Korean LGB adults.
Keywords: Sexual Minorities; Health Status Disparities; Minority Health; Republic of Korea
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