"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 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 (average age: 61yrs) and 61% were HIV-negative. Three decades of depressive symptoms data were included in the analysis to help strengthen the direction of the observed findings. Read more via Williams Institute