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12 March 2013

Gay married men live longer

The mortality rate for men in same-sex marriages has dropped markedly since the 1990s, according to a Danish study.

In contrast, the study also found that women married to women were at increased risk of mortality, most notably from suicide and cancer. In response to this, Morten Frisch, lead author of the study, says, "Lesbians may constitute a largely unnoticed high-risk population for suicide and breast cancer, so our findings call for efforts to identify the underlying factors responsible and ensure access to basic health care in this population."

  • Marriage has long been known to be associated with reduced mortality, but noticeable changes have occurred in the marital status distribution of Western populations over the past decades.
  • This study assessed changes in marital status and cohabitation status in Denmark over a 30-year period and their associations with mortality, using continuously updated individual-level information on living arrangements, confounders, and deaths.
  • Compared with people married to a member of the opposite sex, hazard ratios for overall mortality were consistently elevated in unmarried, divorced, widowed, or same-sex married people. Likewise, compared with people cohabiting with a member of the opposite sex cohabiting, hazard ratios for overall mortality were consistently elevated among people who lived alone, with parents, in multi-adult households, or in same-sex cohabitation.
  • The most marked changes in mortality were seen among same-sex married persons. Between 2000 and 2011, same-sex married Danish women emerged as a group with particularly increased mortality; in contrast, same-sex married Danish men now have mortality rates that are lower than those of unmarried or divorced men.
 
 
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