New research rejects recent study that claimed anti-gay stigma shortens lives
December 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A major study cited widely by the mainstream media to show that social stigma contributes to the early death of homosexuals has been debunked by a new study that found its results could not be replicated.
The study, “Structural stigma and all-cause mortality in sexual minority populations,” published in the journal Social Science & Medicine in 2014, claimed that homosexuals who live in communities with “high levels of anti-gay prejudice” in the United States have a lifespan 12 years shorter on average than those who live in “low-prejudice communities.”
The results of the study were touted by numerous mainstream media outlets as proving that opposition to the gay agenda was literally killing homosexuals. To date, the study has been cited 106 times in peer-reviewed journal articles, according to Google Scholar.
U.S. News and World Report announced, “Research: Anti-Gay Stigma Shortens Lives.” The Washington Post used the study to lecture its readers on “Why gay marriage is good for a person’s mental health.”
However, the mainstream media has been strangely silent regarding the news published in November that a new study using the same dataset failed to find the same result, and could find no relationship between stigma and homosexual lifespan at all. Only the conservative New York Post and National Review reported it.
The study, published last month, “Is structural stigma's effect on the mortality of sexual minorities robust? A failure to replicate the results of a published study,” the results of the “gay stigma” study cannot be replicated using the methods and the data used in the original study.
The study’s author, Mark Regnerus, also writing in Social Science & Medicine, says he attempted to derive the same results using 10 different methods of statistical analysis, but none of them yielded any statistically significant result, and most of the results actually gave a slightly lower risk of early death for homosexuals living in communities that stigmatize homosexuality.
Regnerus notes that the authors of the original study, principally Mark L. Hatzenbuehler of Colombia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, did not publish sufficient details about their methods of data analysis to enable other researchers to precisely replicate their methods and test their claims. Moreover, Regnerus states, despite repeated efforts obtain that information from the study’s authors, it was never provided to him.
“Efforts to replicate Hatzenbuehler et al. (2014) study of the effects of structural stigma, as well as to improve upon its missing data imputation, failed to generate the original study's report of strong and statistically significant effects of structural stigma on the premature mortality of sexual minorities,” writes Regnerus.
“Efforts to replicate the structural stigma measure following what could be called a ‘best practice’ approach, as well as one following the most straightforward reading of the original study's description, each issued in results that indicated ... no effect of that stigma on the mortality of sexual minorities,” he adds. “Eight additional approaches to the imputation of missing data were attempted, none of which generated anything like the results reported in the original study.”
Regnerus concludes that “the original study's claims that such stigma stably accounts for 12 years of diminished life span among sexual minorities seems unfounded, since it is entirely mitigated in multiple attempts to replicate the imputed stigma variable.”
This study represents the second time Regnerus, a sociology professor at the University of Texas, has published evidence debunking “scientific” claims in favor of the gay agenda.
In 2012, Regnerus published a study in Social Science Research showing that children raised by homosexual parents were more likely to suffer from sexually transmitted infections, depression, suicidal fantasies, and low income, to have been sexually molested, to have been convicted of a criminal offense, to identify as a homosexual, to have been involved in same-sex relations, to have engaged in substance abuse, and many other harmful outcomes. The study tended to undermine the conclusions of several flawed and limited studies that had purported to show no difference in outcomes between children raised by homosexuals and those raised by homosexuals.
In reaction to his study, Regnerus was pilloried in the mainstream media, denounced by two colleagues at the University of Texas, and accused of creating a “fraudulent and defamatory” study to justify his “anti-gay prejudices.” As a result, the university launched an inquiry, but found that the accusations did not merit a formal investigation.
Another study published in 2014 in the prestigious journal Science, which purported to show that a mere 20-minute conversation with a homosexual was enough to convert opponents of homosexual marriage, was shown to be a complete fabrication after other researchers sought to replicate the results.