Screen Readers Skip to Content

Internalized Gay Ageism & Depressive Symptoms

Author: The Williams Institute
Published: 9th Dec 2015
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: Sexuality Publications

Summary: This study explores how ageism and homophobia are jointly internalized by gay men.

Main Document

"Internalized gay ageism," or the sense that one may feel denigrated or depreciated because of aging in the context of a gay male identity, is associated with negative mental outcomes, according to a new study published in Social Science & Medicine.

Prior research has shown that youth, vigor and physical attractiveness are disproportionately valued in the gay male community, leaving many to experience a sense of "accelerated aging." This study explores how ageism and homophobia are jointly internalized by gay men, whether these feelings affect their mental health, and whether a sense of "mattering" (the degree to which they feel they are important to others and a significant part of the world around them) offsets any mental health deficits associated with internalized gay ageism.

The study is based on data recently collected from 312 gay-identified men who have been participating in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study since 1984. The men ranged in age from 48 to 78 years (the average age was 61 years) and 61 percent were HIV-negative. Three decades of depressive symptoms data were included in the analysis to help strengthen the direction of the observed findings.

Key findings from the study include:

Aging within the context of a gay male identity merits greater consideration in the development of clinical - and community-based efforts designed to support midlife and older gay men, whose numbers are increasing substantially as part of the aging baby boomer generation. Public health interventions that boost these men's sense of mattering may offset the damaging effects of internalized gay ageism. Future research with large population-based samples is needed that expands how internalized gay ageism is measured and how it may be associated with other stress processes and health outcomes.

The lead author of the report is Richard G. Wight, a former Williams Institute Visiting Scholar and Researcher in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

In addition to Wight, co-authors of the report are Allen J. LeBlanc, Professor at the Health Equity Institute at San Francisco State University; Ilan H. Meyer, Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute; and Frederick A. Harig, doctoral student in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Full Report:

Post to Twitter Add to Facebook

Latest Sexuality Publications

The above information is from our reference library of resources relating to Sexuality that includes:

Research Reveals Connection Between Partner's Gender and Women's Orgasm Expectations thumbnail image.
Study investigates factors influencing orgasm rates for women across sexual orientations.
Publish Date: 4th Apr 2024
Sex Lives in Britain Revealed thumbnail image.
Study reveals the number of sexual partners we have changes as we age, and there are some surprising results.
Publish Date: 8th Sep 2023 - Updated: 14th Dec 2023
Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to all Creation thumbnail image
The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex: A delightful opportunity to watch things get weird and wild in the name of science and sex.
Publish Date: 14th Jun 2023
Survey Finds 1 in 15 Changed Reported Sexual Identity Over a Six-Year Period thumbnail image.
Report reveals over 6% of the UK population aged 16 and over, or 1 in 15, changed their reported sexual identity over a 6 year period.
Publish Date: 12th Jun 2023

1How Many Genders Are There?
Alphabetical list of gender identities.

2Transgender Reporting Guide
How to write about transgender people.

3Glossary of Sexuality Terms
Definitions of sexual terms & acronyms.

4Glossary of Sexual Identities
Definitions of gender related terms.

5Am I Gay? Questions to Ask
Think you may be gay or bisexual?

• Submissions: Send us your coming events and LGBTQ related news stories.

• Report Errors: Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.

• (APA): The Williams Institute. (2015, December 9). Internalized Gay Ageism & Depressive Symptoms. Retrieved April 19, 2024 from

• Permalink: <a href="">Internalized Gay Ageism & Depressive Symptoms</a>