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Lesbian Holiday Stress and Depression

Lesbians More Likely to be Stressed and Depressed during the Holidays

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Updated December 18, 2007
A study by Harris Interactive says that lesbians are more stressed out and depressed during the holiday season than their straight counterparts. Eighty percent of lesbians say they feel more stressed around the holidays, while 64% of heterosexual women reported more stress.

Lesbians Depressed Too

In addition to holiday stress, 51% of lesbians reported feeling depressed around the holidays, compared to only 36% of heterosexual women.

The survey was conducted online with 2,625 U.S. adults 18 and over during November 2007.

What are the causes of lesbian holiday stress?

According to Dr. Linda Spooner, Chair of the Mautner Project's (a lesbian health organization) Board of Directors, "Estrangement from family, marginalization within and isolation from society, separation from children (sometimes due to custody battles), and inadequate access to culturally sensitive health care practitioners are all factors that can adversely affect mood during a season so identified with ‘family’ activities and 'belonging.'”

Are lesbians more depressed?

Colleen Dermondy, Vice president of Witeck-Combs Communications who helped conduct the survey said in a press release, “For lesbians, the baseline levels of stress and depressive feelings are often higher even before the holidays begin and the causes of those stress levels should be more specifically identified and addressed. We know from past polls that isolation, stigma and the potential for discrimination have been major obstacles for lesbians and gays seeking appropriate health care across the country.”

Lesbians Smoke More Too

In addition to questions about stress, the online survey asked about smoking habits. The survey found that 25% of lesbians said they smoked, while only 19% of heterosexual women did. Only 23% of lesbians said they wanted to quit smoking in the next year, but 50% of straight women did.

Are you stressed out? Here's some tips for beating holiday stress.

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