Medical College of Wisconsin
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Sexual identity, identity disclosure, and health care experiences: is there evidence for differential homophobia in primary care practice? Womens Health Issues 2013;23(6):e341-6



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Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84886774038 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   45 Citations


BACKGROUND: Given extant health disparities among women who belong to the sexual minority, we must understand the ways in which access to and satisfaction with health care contribute to such disparities. The purpose of this study was to explore how sexual minority women's (SMW) health care experiences compared with those of their heterosexually identified counterparts. We also sought to investigate whether there were differences within SMW in this regard. Finally, we explored whether participant satisfaction and comfort with health care providers (HCPs) differed depending upon HCP knowledge of participants' sexual orientation.

METHODS: We administered surveys to 420 women including lesbian, gay, bisexual, or other "queer" identified women (n = 354) and heterosexually identified women (n = 66).

FINDINGS: Contrary to our expectations, we found that SMW were as likely to have had a recent health care appointment, to have been recommended and to have received similar diagnostic and preventive care, and to feel comfortable discussing their sexual health with their HCPs. They were, however, less likely to report being satisfied with their HCPs. We found no differences between lesbian SMW and non-lesbian SMW with respect to these indicators. We found important differences with respect to sexual orientation disclosure and health care satisfaction, however. Those participants whose HCPs purportedly knew of their minority sexual orientation reported greater satisfaction with their HCPs and greater comfort discussing their sexual health than those whose providers were presumably unaware.

CONCLUSION: We discuss important clinical and research implications of these findings.

Author List

Mosack KE, Brouwer AM, Petroll AE


Katie Mosack PhD Associate Professor in the Psychology department at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Andrew Petroll MD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Attitude of Health Personnel
Healthcare Disparities
Homosexuality, Female
Homosexuality, Male
Middle Aged
Preventive Health Services
Primary Health Care
Sexual Behavior
Socioeconomic Factors
Surveys and Questionnaires
United States
Young Adult