Implications of the Decline in Lgbt Rights for Population Mental Health: Evidence from Polish “Lgbt-Free Zones”

38 Pages Posted: 20 May 2024

See all articles by Chad D. Meyerhoefer

Chad D. Meyerhoefer

Lehigh University

Bingjin Xue

University of New Hampshire

Anna Poznańska

National Institute of Public Health - NIH – National Research Institute

Abstract

Following decades of reform to legal prohibitions on same-sex marriage and adoption, legislation limiting LGBT rights has increased significantly in recent years. Theories of minority stress suggest anti-LGBT laws can adversely affect the health of LGBT individuals and their families. We investigate how the creation of LGBT-free zones across Poland during 2019 and 2020 affected mental health and mortality. We find that annual suicide attempts increased by 16.5%, or 5 attempts per 100k, and deaths from external causes, including suicide, increased 10.4%, or 5.5 deaths per 100k, in LGBT-free zones. The rise in suicide attempts was concentrated among individuals aged 13-18 and 45-49, and coincided with a reduction in the number of socialization centers for troubled youth. Other than a 9.1% increase in sales of prescription drugs for addictive disorders, there was no change in use of mental health drugs, indicative of limited access to mental health care.

Keywords: LGBT, LGBTQ+, mental health, suicide, difference-in-differences, Poland

Suggested Citation

Meyerhoefer, Chad D. and Xue, Bingjin and Poznańska, Anna, Implications of the Decline in Lgbt Rights for Population Mental Health: Evidence from Polish “Lgbt-Free Zones”. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4828806 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4828806

Chad D. Meyerhoefer (Contact Author)

Lehigh University ( email )

621 Taylor Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
United States

Bingjin Xue

University of New Hampshire ( email )

15 College Road
Durham, NH 03824
United States

Anna Poznańska

National Institute of Public Health - NIH – National Research Institute ( email )

Warsaw
Poland

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