From bias to bisexual health disparities: Attitudes toward bisexual men and women in the united states

M. Reuel Friedman, Brian Dodge, Vanessa Schick, Debby Herbenick, Randolph D. Hubach, Jessamyn Bowling, Gabriel Goncalves, Sarah Krier, Michael Reece

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

135 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: A newly emergent literature suggests that bisexual men and women face profound health disparities in comparison to both heterosexual and homosexual individuals. Additionally, bisexual individuals often experience prejudice, stigma, and discrimination from both gay/lesbian and straight communities, termed biphobia. However, only limited research exists that empirically tests the extent and predictors of this double discrimination. The Bisexualities: Indiana Attitudes Scale (BIAS) was developed to test associations between biphobia and sexual identity. Methods: Using standard techniques, we developed and administered a scale to a purposive online sample of adults from a wide range of social networking websites. We conducted exploratory factor analysis to refine scales assessing attitudes toward bisexual men and bisexual women, respectively. Using generalized linear modeling, we assessed relationships between BIAS scores and sexual identity, adjusting for covariates. Results: Two separately gendered scales were developed, administered, and refined: BIAS-m (n=645), focusing on attitudes toward bisexual men, and BIAS-f (n=631), focusing on attitudes toward bisexual women. Across scales, sexual identity significantly predicted response variance. Lesbian/gay respondents had lower levels of bi-negative attitudes than their heterosexual counterparts (all p-values .05); bisexual respondents had lower levels of bi-negative attitudes than their straight counterparts (all p-values .001); and bisexual respondents had lower levels of bi-negative attitudes than their lesbian/gay counterparts (all p-values .05). Within racial/ethnic minority respondents, biracial/multiracial status was associated with lower bi-negativity scores (all p-values.05). Conclusions: This study provides important quantitative support for theories related to biphobia and double discrimination. Our findings provide strong evidence for understanding how stereotypes and stigma may lead to dramatic disparities in depression, anxiety, stress, and other health outcomes among bisexual individuals in comparison to their heterosexual and homosexual counterparts. Our results yield valuable data for informing social awareness and intervention efforts that aim to decrease bi-negative attitudes within both straight and gay/lesbian communities, with the ultimate goal of alleviating health disparities among bisexual men and women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-318
Number of pages10
JournalLGBT Health
Volume1
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014

Keywords

  • attitudes
  • bisexual men
  • bisexual women
  • bisexuality
  • stigma

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    Friedman, M. R., Dodge, B., Schick, V., Herbenick, D., Hubach, R. D., Bowling, J., Goncalves, G., Krier, S., & Reece, M. (2014). From bias to bisexual health disparities: Attitudes toward bisexual men and women in the united states. LGBT Health, 1(4), 309-318. https://doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2014.0005