Background: Previous research has shown that gay and bisexual men who conceal their sexual orientation suffer more adverse physical health problems relative to men who are more "out." However, little is known about the physiological mechanisms underlying this association. Purpose: This study examined whether concealing sexual orientation in the workplace was associated with increased workday levels of salivary cortisol. Methods: Seventy-three gay and bisexual men responded to questionnaires assessing the extent to which they are open about their sexual orientations at work and other aspects of their work environment. Men then provided saliva samples and reports of negative affect throughout 2 consecutive days-1 at home and 1 at work. Results: Contrary to expectations, being more out at work was associated with higher workday levels of salivary cortisol (B = 0.21, SE B = 0.09, p < .05) and higher workday reports of negative affect (B = 0.14, SE B = 0.07, p < .05), controlling for home day values. Conclusions: These findings suggest that it is disclosure rather than nondisclosure of sexual orientation by gay men in the workplace that is associated with emotional and physiological activation; a pattern that may have implications for their long-term adaptation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health