Gay and bisexual men who disclose their sexual orientations in the workplace have higher workday levels of salivary cortisol and negative affect

David M. Huebner, Mary Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-267
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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