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Sexual and Gender Minority Health: Toward a More Complete Accounting of Social Class

Sexual and Gender Minority Health

ISBN: 978-1-83867-147-1, eISBN: 978-1-83867-146-4

Publication date: 15 January 2021


Purpose: We review theory and research to suggest how research on sexual and gender minority (SGM) population health could more completely account for social class.

Approach: First, we review theory on social class, gender, and sexuality, especially pertaining to health. Next, we review research on social class among SGM populations. Then, we review 42 studies of SGM population health that accounted for one or more components of social class. Finally, we suggest future directions for investigating social class as a fundamental driver of SGM health.

Findings: Social class and SGM stigma are both theorized as “fundamental causes” of health, yet most studies of SGM health do not rigorously theorize social class. A few studies control socioeconomic characteristics as mediators of SGM health disparities, but that approach obscures class disparities within SGM populations. Only two of 42 studies we reviewed examined SGM population health at the intersections of social class, gender, and sexuality.

Research implications: Researchers interested in SGM population health would benefit from explicitly stating their chosen theory and operationalization of social class. Techniques such as splitting samples by social class and statistical interactions can help illuminate how social class and SGM status intertwine to influence health.

Originality: We synthesize theory and research on social class, sexuality, and gender pertaining to health. In doing so, we hope to help future research more thoroughly account for social class as a factor shaping the lives and health of SGM people.



Spiker, R., Stacey, L. and Reczek, C. (2021), "Sexual and Gender Minority Health: Toward a More Complete Accounting of Social Class", LeBlanc, A.J. and Perry, B.L. (Ed.) Sexual and Gender Minority Health (Advances in Medical Sociology, Vol. 21), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 17-37.



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