Researchers from the University of Minnesota have revealed that the negative attitude towards homosexuality among homosexual men predicts poor mental and sexual health-- not the act of being homosexual.
In the study involving 422 Midwestern gay and bisexual men, the researchers found that the degree of internalized homonegativity (negative attitude towards homosexuality) predicted poorer mental health, particularly depression, and worse sexual health.
"This study is a missing link in our understanding of the relationship between sexuality and health," said lead researcher Simon Rosser, of School of Public Health and principal investigator of the study.
"It provides new evidence that negative attitudes towards homosexuality, not homosexuality itself, are associated with both poorer mental and sexual health outcomes seen in sexual minorities.
"Conversely, positive attitudes towards homosexuality are associated with better mental and sexual health," he added.
During the study, the participants were assessed on their degree of homosexuality, their degree of positive or negative attitudes towards homosexuality, and a range of mental and sexual health variables.
"Given the debates in many religious denominations about homosexuality, and in society about homosexuals and civil rights, it's also timely," said Rosser.
"In particular, the old advice to gay men to fight, deny, or minimize their homosexuality likely only increases depression, greater isolation, and poorer sexual health. In short, viewing homosexuality as a disorder is not only inaccurate, it may be harmful as well," he added.