Study: Anxiety And Depression Higher In Men Who Are 'On The Down Low'

In the first study of its kind in this specific patient population, researchers from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found higher rates of anxiety and depression among bisexual men who conceal their homosexual behavior and who aren't as likely to disclose their sexuality compared to openly gay men.

The findings appear in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Being 'On The Down Low' Affects Mental Health

The population of men looked at in this study are those bisexual men who are, according to the terminology, "on the down low," meaning that they are bisexual but live heterosexual lives and tell no one of their homosexual behavior.

Columbia researchers surveyed more than 200 nongay-identified males in New York City who self-reported being behaviorally bisexual but who had not told their female partners about their homosexual behavior.

Said Eric Schrimshaw, PhD, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences and the study's lead author:

"Our research provides information on the factors that might contribute to greater concealment among this group of behaviorally bisexual men. Such information is critical to understanding which of these bisexual men may be at greatest risk for mental health problems."

About 40 percent of the men said they hadn't told anybody about their bisexual behaviors, while another 40 percent said they told only one other person.

The greater the concealment, according to researchers, the greater the symptoms of depression and anxiety—and the lower the positive emotions experienced. Unfortunately, in confiding to close friends or family, men did not get any relief from this; rather it contributed to their depression and anxiety.

Acceptance More Important Than 'Coming Out'

Co-author Karolynn Siegel, PhD, professor of Sociomedical Sciences, said:

"The fact that concealment, but not disclosure, was associated with the mental health of these bisexual men is critically important for the way therapeutic interventions are conducted in this population. Although disclosure may result in acceptance from family and friends, in other cases -- particularly with female partners -- disclosure may also result in rejecting reactions, which are adversely associated with mental health."

The research suggests that disclosure among these men does not necessarily mean improved mental health unless they have the psychosocial and familial support around them to cope with it.

They suggest that mental health professionals work less on getting these men to disclose their behaviors and work more on helping them accept their sexual behaviors and orientation.

Source: MNT
Photo: Pixabay

More Articles

According to the DSM-IV, people suffering from a medical condition should only be diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder (SAD) if the anxiety is...

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has received a fair amount of media and research attention lately, with the return of soldiers fighting in...

Neurontin, generically known as gabapentin, is an anticonvulsant drug approved by the FDA to treat certain types of seizures in epileptics...

Serax® is the brand name for the drug oxazepam, a benzodiazepine that has been in use since the 1960s.

Serax is used primarily for the...

In what probably doesn't come as a surprise to many people, a research study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology reports that the...

More Articles

Getting on an airplane can cause an anxiety attack even for the most seasoned flier. Whether it’s a fear of heights, the feeling of the unknown,...

Should I try an herbal remedy for anxiety?

People are interested in herbal remedies for anxiety for a variety of reasons--some of the...

Anxiety dizziness is an uncomfortable inner feeling of confusion. The word is used to describe so many different sensations, your health care...

Calming your anxiety and nerves is easier said than done. “Just relax” doesn’t work, and “it’s okay” doesn’t help! So what do you do?

First...

Sometimes an anxiety attack can strike in a less than a comfortable place, such as the office. When dealing with stress and anxiety while at work...

Practicing small daily rituals that bring comfort, inspiration, beauty, tranquility, or encouragement into our life anchors us, and can help...

Self-help books for anxiety are very popular--so popular that the sheer number of books available can be overwhelming. All those choices mean that...

Everyone experiences mild anxiety from time to time. Occasional stress over work and family obligations is a normal part of life, as is anxiety...

Medications are an important tool for people dealing with anxiety, but most experts agree that they are best used as a short-term solution for...

Vivactil (generic protriptyline hydrochloride) is a tricyclic antidepressant approved by the FDA to treat depression in adults (age 18 and over)....

Meditation has a reputation among some in the west as being akin to religious practice and for that reason, something mystical or reserved for...

What is stress?

Stress is sometimes used to describe challenges or threats, like, “Kelly was under a lot of stress”, or other times to...

Depression and anxiety are currently considered as separate disorders. Some people clearly have one or the other, but many people experience an...

A recent study on anxiety and exercise found better results with resistance training than with aerobic exercise, despite the fact that most of the...

If you're feeling overwhelmed by constant anxiety, or even just bothered by occasional bouts of stress, there are some lifestyle and health habits...