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LGBTQ wellbeing and telomere length: the role of political salience




Poulin-Rodriguez, Elizabeth, author
Quirk, Kelley, advisor
Carlson, Laurie, committee member
Shomaker, Lauren, committee member

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender queer (LGBTQ) individuals face disparities in experiences of negative physical and mental health. The current study examined the impact of internalized homophobia, sense of belonging, and a relatively new and understudied construct of political salience, as these related to physical health. Given the underexplored nature of the construct of political salience, a new measure was developed within this study. Participants' physical health was examined using telomere length, an indicator of cellular aging. 35 Participants provided self-report data and a saliva sample to the researchers; 17 identified as LGBTQ and 18 identified as heterosexual. Heterosexual individuals were included in the study to explore possible differences in telomere length, a question not yet tested in the literature. Significant main effects were found for sense of belonging, internalized homophobia, and telomere length with political salience. However, potentially due to low sample size power in the study, political salience was not found to be a moderating factor for the relationships between sense of belonging and telomere length, or for the relationship between internalized homophobia and telomere length.


2019 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references.

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