London: A new study has found that bisexual women are more likely than their male counterparts to suffer from depression, stress and to binge-drink.
The national study led by George Mason University researcher Lisa Lindley said bisexual women are also at greater risk to smoke and be victimized.
“Bisexuals are often invisible. There’s a lot of prejudice against them. They’re told ‘You’re confused -- pick one,’” Lindley said of bisexual women.
“There tends to be this expectation or standard that a person picks one sexual identity and sticks with it. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about bisexuals. I think their risk has a lot more to do with stigma,” she added.
The study uses three different dimensions of sexuality -- identity, behaviour and attraction -- and links them to a variety of health outcomes, stated Lindley, an associate professor in Mason``s Department of Global and Community Health within the College of Health and Human Services.
Looking closely at the survey data, Lindley noted, both bisexual girls and boys were more likely to be high-risk for depression, stress and alcohol abuse when they were teenagers.
She found that the odds dropped for men as they got older, but not so for women.
In addition, women who were strictly identified as straight or gay didn’t have the same risk factors that bisexual women had, according Lindley.
Men didn’t report feeling as depressed or stressed as women did. They also didn’t binge-drink or smoke as much as bisexual women.
“I don’t know is the honest answer. Perhaps it’s because men, if gay or straight, have a stronger connection to their community. Bisexual women may not feel as if there is a community for them,” Lindley concluded.