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We use the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health to examine union and parenthood differences across same and opposite-sex couples in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP), C-reactive protein (CRP), and abdominal adiposity (waist circumference) among partnered (dating, cohabiting, married) young adults ages 25–33. Relative to women dating men, women cohabiting with women reported lower DBP and were less likely to have high CRP. Mothers reported lower SBP and DBP than non-mothers, but were more likely to have high waist circumference if they lived with a biological or step-child. Among men, nonresidential fathers reported higher DBP than nonfathers, and married men were more likely to have high waist circumference than men dating an opposite-sex partner. Same-sex cohabitation was neither a risk factor nor a health resource for men. Although the sample sizes for same-sex couples are quite small compared with those for opposite-sex couples, this study provides initial insight that occupying a sexual minority status while partnered is associated with some health benefits and few or no health risks relative to those who are dating an opposite sex partner.
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- Health consequences of same and opposite-sex unions: partnership, parenthood, and cardiovascular risk among young adults
Jamie L. Lynch
- Springer US