The moderation of socio-demographics in physical and mental health disparities among Israeli gay and heterosexual middle-aged and older men

Geva Shenkman*, Kfir Ifrah, Dov Shmotkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Physical and mental health disparities were explored among Israeli middle-aged and older gay and heterosexual men alongside the moderating role of age, relationship status, and place of birth. Method: 173 middle-aged and older gay men were individually matched with 173 middle-aged and older heterosexual men at the age range of 50–86 (M = 60.56, SD = 8.42). All participants completed measures of doctor visits, physical health comorbidity, depressive symptoms, and anxiety. Results: Israeli middle-aged and older gay and heterosexual men did not significantly differ on physical or mental health indicators. However, a more differential analysis revealed that older age and relationship status had a moderating role, such that older gay men reported more physical health comorbidity in comparison to older heterosexual men. Similarly, gay men who were not in a steady relationship reported more frequent visits to the doctor and more anxiety in comparison to heterosexual men who were not in a steady relationship. Additionally, immigration history appeared as a potential resiliency factor, such that gay men who were not born in Israel reported less frequent doctor visits and less anxiety in comparison to heterosexual men who were not born in Israel. Conclusions: This study presents a pioneering examination of physical and mental health disparities in an Israeli sample of middle-aged and older gay and heterosexual men. These results may call the attention of clinicians and policymakers to both vulnerabilities and strengths of middle-aged and older gay men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1068
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Funding

FundersFunder number
Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research

    Keywords

    • Health disparities
    • middle-aged and older gay men
    • physical and mental health
    • sexual orientation

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